Econet sponsorship lapses


…negotiations still ongoing

Moorosi Tsiane

Econet Telecom Lesotho’s sponsorship contract with the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) is ending this month.

PLMC spokesperson Moeketsi Ramakatsa told the Lesotho Times this week that negotiations were still on going with Econet for the renewal of the contract.

Econet came in as the league sponsors three years ago taking over from Vodacom Lesotho. Econet came on board with M2 million for each of the three seasons.

The new sponsorship deal saw league teams fighting for the coveted half a million first prize, M300 000 more than the previous prize of M200 000 from Vodacom.

Ramakatsa told the Lesotho Times on Tuesday that they were in talks with Econet before the league was interrupted by the coronavirus (Covid-19) induced break in March this year.

He said they had already tabled a proposal to the telecommunication giants.

“The contract is ending and we were already discussing the new deal with Econet and unfortunately, everything was put on hold due to coronavirus outbreak,” Ramakatsa said.

He said they are also hoping to change a clause that bars the sponsors’ competition to be involved in some league competitions.

“We actually want them to remove a clause in the new contract that restricts other companies, especially their competitors, from sponsoring some of our activities because we feel that it stifles growth.

“We have faced financial; challenges in previous seasons despite there being some companies that were willing to assist because of that clause. We still want Econet to return but we are hoping the contract can be altered.”

Ramakatsa said they are also hoping for an upward variation of the sponsorship package.

“The last sponsorship was M6 million, so this time around we have proposed to increase it to M9 million for three seasons. This is because football is increasingly expensive to run.

“For example, with the current sponsors, you find that only teams that finished in the top four would get good money while the rest struggled with funds that cannot last them three months.”

Econet public relations officer Puleng Masoabi also confirmed her company’s willingness to continue sponsoring the league but said they were still negotiating.

“This is something we have been discussing but we were disrupted by Covid-19. Of course, we are still interested in continuing the sponsorship but once we have reached a decision, we will come out publicly and announce it,” Masoabi said.

She said when Econet came on board to sponsor the league, its aim was to improve local soccer.

“Econet does not run football, ours is just to help it improve and I must say it wasn’t an easy road because we had our expectations some of which were met but others were not. These are some of the issues that we will discuss as we negotiate the renewal of the deal.

“We are also waiting for their report which, I think will give us an idea of what was happening. However, like I said, our interest was to improve football especially because we were aware that there are people who are depending on it,” she said.

Masoabi was however, reluctant to say whether or not they would increase the sponsorship.

“That is also one of the issues that must be discussed especially after we were all affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, so I can’t really say whether or not we will be increasing, the figure,” Masoabi said.

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