D-Day for top clubs

MASERU — Next Wednesday is D-Day for Premier League teams that would have failed to comply with the minimum requirements for top-flight sides as set out in the Mohale Declaration.

The decision to punish the non-compliant teams through the deduction of points is part of efforts to turn domestic football professional.

A team that would not have registered 100 supporters by March 31 will lose five points.

Failure to have eight marshals during a match will also cost offending teams five points.

Teams will also be docked points for not having rubber stamps and failure to have a technical area with 24 seats.

The decision to punish the teams was reached during the Premier League meetings held on February 14 and March 14, according to a circular released by the league last Friday.

The circular, signed by Premier League vice-secretary Ntepe Selebalo, said: “It shall be misconduct for a team to have not attained/complied with the set minimum requirements by the 31st March 2010.”

The Mohale Declaration, signed in April 2008 during a Fifa management training workshop, is the roadmap for the professionalisation of the local game.

Starting this season the Premier League will be trimmed to 12 teams as part of the efforts to turn around top-flight football.

Lesotho has a 16-team Premier League which plays on an amateur basis with little sponsorship and no television coverage.

The development has intensified competition in the top-flight league.

The Premier League’s decision to punish teams that fail to meet the minimum requirements as spelt out in the Mohale Declaration will only cause further commotion in the top division.

As part of the roadmap, the Lesotho Football Association was also expected to introduce a club licensing system and appoint refereeing inspectors at all league matches.

A contract system for coaches and players, a coaching licence scheme, the establishment of youth development leagues and the implementation of safety procedures at matches are the other measures detailed in the Mohale Declaration.

Most clubs are not expected to comply with the set minimum requirements for top-flight teams.

Likhopo manager Qamako Mahao said he doubted if most teams would be able to meet the minimum requirements by Wednesday.

“It is not possible for the majority of the teams in the Premier League to provide 100 registered supporters because the clubs did not have established supporters’ structures,” Mahao said.

“I do not think that every team can afford to buy a stretcher while they are struggling with other things involving finances,” he added.

He however said most clubs should find it easy to supply eight marshals, have a technical area with 24 seats as well as a rubber stamp and revised constitution.

“Every team will be able to supply eight marshals because they do not need to be trained for them to be marshals,” Mahao said.

“Concerning the technical area, it is very easy because the grounds are already there. We just need to have demarcations.”

He said the Premier League supplies a rubber stamp even though Likhopo had not received one as yet.

Likhopo does not have registered supporters and a stretcher, Mahao said.

Majantja president Sello Matete shared the same sentiments with Mahao.

He said it was difficult to for clubs to appreciate how important it was to meet the minimum requirements.

“I believe we will manage to meet those requirements,” Matete said.

“The only problem we are having when trying to implement these things is lack of understanding from our colleagues within the team.”

Failure to meet the requirements shall be punishable by point deductions as follows:

lFailure to register 100 supporters — five points.

lFailure to have a rubber stamp — two points.

lFailure to have technical area with 24 seats — three points.

lFailure to have eight marshals — five points.

lFailure to provide a stretcher — three points.

lFailure to submit a revised constitution — one point.

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