Gaborone giants seek answers from Botswana FA over Fifa Covid-19 relief funds

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Cash strapped Botswana clubs face collapse as the Fifa Covid-19 relief funds mystery rages on in the Southern African country.

Gaborone giants Notwane FC have written a strongly-worded letter to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) enquiring about the relief funds received from Fifa for the purpose of helping member associations, clubs and their players to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

Toronto, as the club is affectionately known, quoted BFA’s communication on September 4, 2020 that stated the solidarity grant was to be paid by Fifa in two installments of USD 500,000 (R7.5 million) each and the BFA National Executive Committee, (NEC) approved P1, 937, 500.00 per installment for the Premier League.

The Gaborone club indicated they were yet to receive their share and now stand on the brink of collapse as they are struggling to sustain operations. Botswana clubs primarily survive on gate takings and have been unable to generate any revenue since football was halted following the Covid-19 outbreak last year in March.

It remains unclear when the League will resume and revelations are that several clubs in the diamond-rich nation have been unable to pay players’ salaries due to inactivity.

“It is a factual position that Fifa approved a Covid-19 Relief Plan to assist not only the Member Association but also Clubs and players to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

“The Grant to club was a sequel of the Fifa Council meeting convened on the 26th of June 2020 in terms of which a Fifa Covid-19 relief plan was approved. Amongst the approved payment was the Forward Operational cost payment and more relevant to the current communication, the USD1, 000,000.00 (One Million) grant which forms the basis of the NEC allocation stated above,” reads the letter.

The club revealed that their players are languishing in poverty due to lack of enough financial support hence the demand for their Relief Fund portion.

“To date, there has not been any communication pertaining to disbursement of payment which has resulted in our players’ welfare being compromised contrary to the spirit and the intention of the Fifa Covid-19 Relief Plan.

“We therefore, on behalf of our players and staff, demand a written confirmation of the status of disbursement and timelines thereof. We believe that Fifa has already disbursed to the Member Associations and therefore remittance should have been made to the various structures in terms of the disbursement Plan approved by the NEC,” reads the letter.

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By FARPost Reporter

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