Popa President accuses league of failing to support clubs
Township Rollers President Jagdish Shah has blasted the Botswana Premier League (BPL) for failing to support local clubs.
Never one to mince his words, Shah’s fiery comments were in response to the BPL’s report on their recent benchmarking trip to South Africa where they liaised with the Premier Soccer League (PSL).
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, the critical Popa President stressed that the country’s elite league has a long way to go to reach the same levels of the PSL.
He pointed out that the PSL enjoys a good working relationship with local teams whereas in Botswana clubs are like ‘orphans’ and treated with little respect by their governing body.
“I am saying this from a club perspective and I know I might make certain comments which may not be appreciated. There are so many things that are not working yet we are on a quest to become an autonomous league.
“The clubs are very poor here but at PSL from the funds they source from the sponsors broadcast rights they have revenue of R520million a year – ABSA Premiership they get R130million as sponsorship not including cups. All in all it’s R1billion,” remarked Shah.
He noted that the 2017 PSL accounts are already presented, audited and printed which shows transparency whereas the BPL are yet to present clubs with the accounts from 2016.
The business tycoon added that the PSL does not receive any funding from the government or the association yet they enrich clubs.
He said every year clubs get a R29million grant whilst in Botswana there are no television rights.
He also complained that BPL does not insure players as their assets, which suggests they do not value them.
“On the ticketing issue, currently we are suffering; the other time it is done by BPL and tomorrow we are told there is a company dealing with that – getting our money is always difficult. We have some cases I cannot disclose. BPL is not giving us enough support. We need to introspect ourselves and see what we are not doing right to attract investors,” he concluded earnestly.
For his part, BPL Chief Executive Officer, Styles Ntshinogang argued that most of the PSL’s initiatives were similar to the BPL’s, adding that the South Africans were in a position to do them better due to their resources.
He said what makes the PSL ‘the best in Africa’ is that it is a league which is well resourced in all areas, including infrastructure, human capital and finances.
“From what we learnt, it is important to re-look at the structure of the league, especially Executive Committee which report to the board of governors and take care of the strategic issues. We had a temporary one called Premier League Management Committee but it’s not on the same level as PSL. To address the issues of tickets clubs need to be given full control of their league matches,” said Ntshinogang.