Botswana faces FIFA ban over government-run tournament

Gaborone (Botswana): World football governing body, FIFA has threatened to impose sanctions against Botswana for contravening its regulations by staging football tournaments under government control, officials revealed Friday.

Botswana Football Association (BFA) President Tebogo Sebego told Xinhua in an interview that the warning came following a fact finding mission by FIFA officers in the past few months.

He revealed that Botswana has been given until Sep 22 to rectify all the irregularities identified with the constituency of the tournaments or face hefty penalties from FIFA among them expulsion.

He said FIFA communicated with them that its investigations revealed that the constituency tournaments are causing severe damage to BFA sanctioned competitions and Botswana football in general.

Sebego said one of the fundamental responsibilities of all FIFA members is to control and supervise football in all its forms at national level, which is not the case with constituency tournaments.

He said FIFA statutes stipulate that all leagues and football groups must be subordinate to and recognised by BFA.

FIFA has therefore concluded that the tournaments are operating parallel to the BFA football pyramid and appear to be in violation of football statutes.

According to Sebego, FIFA has instructed that constituency tournaments be brought under the control and supervision of the BFA by Sep 22 when the matter will be presented to the FIFA Statutes Committee.

The constituency tournaments started in 2005 as a way of promoting active sports participation by the constituents in their different voting constituencies. The tournaments are fully sponsored and controlled by the government.

FIFA has very strict regulations against interference of politics into football matters and those who violate the regulations often face heavy sanctions.

If Botswana get banned by FIFA, they will not be eligible to attend FIFA congress, participate in FIFA sanctioned competitions or get any form of assistance from FIFA.

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