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National Stadium headache

Publishing Date : 20 August, 2018


Botswana Premier League (BPL) house battles familiar problems as the new season commences. Premier League games as powered by local network providers Botswana Telecommunication Corporation (BTC), will not be played at the national stadium for the next three months, WeekendSport can safely reveal.

The facility owners, Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) are said to have informed the league organisers about the tight schedule confronting them in releasing the stadium for the elite games.  It is said the stadium has to take some time to recuperate before its keys are freed to the country’s popular music festival known as Gaborone International Music Concert (GIMC) to be held in September.

It is further claimed that the national sports facility will only be available on the first week of November where the league board dreams to hold a double header for the first time. All the while, it is recalled that the National Stadium case also affected fixtures last season. More often than not, the league office had to reschedule games because of blaring clash of sponsors over placements of rival company’s advertisements on the stands.

Mascom Wireless who are  the sponsors of the Top 8 competition have secured an agreement with Commission (BNSC), a sports body that also  controls the management of local stadium, to advertise and brand themselves. The network giants also pay a total of P 30 000 per month to BNSC. The agreement facilitated two years ago is part of the strategy by the BNSC to generate income.

However, this move was evidently hurting the title sponsors of the league, BTC whose contract with BFA closes doors on competing brands. It is without doubt that, BTC, a local network giant is a direct competitor of Mascom Wireless.
To this far, BTC had registered a number of complaints with their partners, BPL about the visibility of Mascom wherever premier league games are played.

The situation had seemingly thrown premier league house between a rock and a hard place, a scenario that forced the Thabo Ntshinogang’s administration to temporarily stop booking the stadium for BTC premiership games.  BTC was irate that Mascom was freely getting the mileage it does not deserve particularly when league games were televised on the national television (Btv).

Annexure ‘D’ within the contract of BFA/ BTC, under the club sponsorship, General rights and Obligations, clearly stipulates that, “there shall be no rival sponsorship whilst playing in premier league, BFA games to enforce exclusivity of BTC games.” Thabo Ntshinogang, the now under fire BPL Chief Executive Officer, said, there is hope that this problem will be tackled. “We believe that everything will come to effect anytime soon. It is of course a complicated issue, but all parties are involved,” he said.

However, at the close of last season, high ranking BNSC members were contemplating to campaign for a ‘clean stadium’ as per the football norm. The move was highly likely to attract backlash considering the amount of revenue that goes into the commission’s account. As it stands, a total of P360 000 is a profit of BNSC for the entire year. 

“For a broke organization like BNSC, that is lot money and to terminate will mean a lot of sacrifices will have to be made,” a source said. Of late, the sports commission has been failing to service their stadium around the country. Most disturbing was the issue of water supply.



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