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MBABANE – Why would FIFA and CAF set the standards so high without any financial aid to teams to ensure they meet the Club Licensing requirements?

This is the million dollar question by Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) clubs in both the elite and second tier leagues. Impeccable sources from the PLE’s annual general meeting (AGM) last week Saturday have revealed that a ‘serious and daring’ recommendation was passed by the PLE Board of Governors (BoGs) comprised of teams’ directors or their assigned representatives. “As teams, we are asking ourselves why we are not getting financial assistance to meet us half way on the costly CAF Club Licensing standards, because we see in other leagues that teams are getting substantive amounts every season. We are aware of the millions that FIFA and CAF send to the EFA like the recent US$1 million, one from FIFA and then another from CAF which were also reported by the local media and we wonder if we shouldn’t be getting that,” said one of the teams’ representatives who was in the AGM at Sigwaca House.

Interestingly, today it is the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) that is having its AGM at the Happy Valley Hotel in Ezulwini. Another team representative said it was high time they did an introspection and set out to find the truth about the grants coming from the world football governing body, the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA). “If you convert US$1 million to our currency, that’s about E16 million, but how much of that goes to the PLE which has the enormous task to achieve the licences or have its leagues suffer big time because that’s what happens when we don’t get the CAF licence. It’s an expensive one for us coming from a dry two seasons due to COVID-19, so it’s best we stand up and investigate these monies perhaps we are sitting on gold. As we speak the EFA has got these grants,” said the source.


It is understood that the CAF Club Licensing issue was the longest discussed matter on the agenda during the AGM, as only two out of 12 elite teams meet the requirements and that is Mbabane Highlanders and Royal Leopard. In the First Division League, not one team has met the Confederation of African Football (CAF) licencing requirements which include having fully-fledged offices with internet and full-time secretary, development teams with qualified personnel and audited financial statements among other things. PLE Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kenneth Makhanya recently acknowledged that the licensing demands were not aligned to the factual situation the clubs were in, financially. For two seasons teams played only the MTN Premier League, with minimal fans allowed last season when the previous season it was completely no fans in the stadiums. However, he could not be reached yesterday despite efforts to get his comment. Meanwhile, PLE Chairman Mark Carmichael was also asked about the grants issue, albeit informally, and his response was that ‘we wanted to comply’ without denying the proposed investigation.

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