11 BPL clubs fail to pay players in the current season - FUB reveals
By Kagiso Fox Phatsimo
The Footballers Union of Botswana (FUB) has it on good account that 11 out of 16 Botswana Premier League (BPL) clubs either fail to pay players on time, or they don’t pay the players their wages at all. This worrying statistic is based on reports received by the union in the current season, which started in August 2017.
In an exclusive interview with Echo Sport, FUB Secretary General, Kgosana Masaseng, said only 5 clubs have been able to pay players on time in the 2017/18 league season. Consequently the union has received a number of complaints from players crying out for help.
“From our initial investigation which informed the labour research project we embarked on last year, it has always been a question of how many teams pay the agreed amount and on time. Last year we had only 6 teams complying with contractual covenants in terms of paying players the agreed amount on time.” Masaseng said.
“This season the number has gone down. Only 5 teams pay players on time and the agreed amount. This means 11 teams are not fulfilling their contractual obligations. Some of the teams pay the players late; some don’t pay the full amount stipulated in the contract, while some don’t pay the players at all.”
The FUB’s revelations come in the wake of reports that players from a Gaborone based club threatened to boycott a BTC Premiership round 8 match last weekend. Allegations are that the players have not been paid full salaries for over 4 months.
Masaseng added that the FUB, which exists to advocate for players in all matters affecting their welfare, can only act when their clients give them the green light. However, he did mention that the union is at liberty to take drastic measures if the situation doesn’t improve.
“We, FUB, act on the instruction of the players who are our members. Our mandate is in line with what the players advice. Firstly we let the teams engage the players on the matter, and if there’s no improvement we take it a step further,” Masaseng revealed.
“We don’t want to be seen as party spoilers. We could simply say this is too much, let’s stop all operations. We could write to the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and make it known that Botswana teams are not abiding by their statutes. But that would escalate the problem rather than solve it.”
In one of the critical disclosures by the union, Masaseng spoke of the negative effect this ordeal has had on the players. The struggles the players face cannot be more evident than reports that a player from one of the struggling clubs had collapsed during training. The sad reality was that he had attended training on an empty stomach, and lost consciousness under rigorous activity.
“This is a critical matter which needs our immediate attention. It’s sad that maladministration by club officials punishes the players more than anyone. The poor players struggle to make ends meet, some are evicted by their land lords, some train under unfavourable conditions, but come match day everyone expects them to give 100%,” he said.
“Supporters pay their hard earned money expecting a good product, but sadly the players can’t meet their expectations under the circumstances. We need to re-look at how we do things.”
Masaseng also urged the fans to help alleviate the situation.
“We also want to appeal to the public to help us. The supporter, as the paying customer, must fight for a better and improved product. And that starts with team administration. Do they pick the right people to run these clubs? Do they have processes in place to govern these club administrators? These are some of the areas we need to iron out in trying to address this issue.”