Chief Prosecutor talks tough
Following our publication of 17 January 2013 reporting on the docking of BDF XI’s points where Botswana Premier League’s Chief Prosecutor Tshiamo Rantao and other members of the Disciplinary Committee were accused by disgruntled BDF XI club management of having ulterior motives in taking disciplinary action against them.
The Voice Sport had an opportunity to interview Rantao to set the record straight and dispel any misconceptions with respect to the conduct of the committee.
Tshiamo Rantao called on football administrators and supporters to familiarize themselves with the laws of the game.
A decorated lawyer who sits on different forums including the MISA Board; Rantao was recently at the centre of a controversy that saw then log leaders BDF XI docked six points and fined P10 000 for taking football matters to court.
Football commentators quickly took to social media to slam the judgment arguing that Rantao was not the right person to prosecute the case as he had lost a previous case against the defendant.
“I did not lose any case, but my client did,” said Rantao in an exclusive interview with Voice Sport.
“The question of charging BDF XI with an ulterior motive is laughable, that is why their attorney never brought it up,” he said.
FIFA rules are very clear that it was a disciplinary offence for clubs to take football matters to courts of law.
By taking the Premier league to court BDF XI was in clear breach of applicable FIFA rules hence disciplinary action had to be taken against them.
Rantao said most people who slammed the judgment were not even aware that BDF XI pleaded guilty to the charge.
“I do not gain anything at a personal level from settling scores with the club.”
“Above all I do not get instructions from the Premier League.
They give me a report and I charge a team if I’m convinced there is an offence,” said Rantao.
The BONELA Chairman defended members of the Disciplinary Committee who also were not spared by social media commentators.
“We are talking about men of good standing who have been selfless in serving local football,” he said.
A staunch supporter of Lobatse giants Extension Gunners, Rantao said there is a need for more public education on matters of sport, especially regulation.
“I have proposed to the league Board that we hold workshops to sensitize administrators on regulations of football. However the lack of funds continues to inhibit initiatives like public education.
He said in the 12 years that he has been volunteering his services to football he has realized that some teams commit offences unknowingly.
“But ignorance can never be an excuse,” he charged.
“FIFA rules are there to ensure football development and proper performance by member associations and teams on the ground,” Rantao told Voice Sport.
He further said administrators’ lack of understanding of basic rules has turned local football into a laughing stock and: “risks harming our reputation internationally.”
“Professionalism, commercialization and discipline are intricately intertwined and until we realize that it will be difficult to attract good sponsors or skilled labour,” Rantao said.
The convener of Human Rights Society of Botswana ended the interview by admitting that for the first time since dealing with football he is seeing a lot of criticism aimed at the legal side of the sport’s administration.
“This is good, this is the feedback that we need,” he said.