Court halts Botswana Golden Grand Prix amid legal battle

ATHLETICS Court halts Botswana Golden Grand Prix amid legal battle

Festus Chuma 21:04 - 28.03.2024

Gaborone High Court has halted Botswana Golden Grand Prix preparations amid a legal dispute casting uncertainty on the event's future.

Gaborone High Court has issued an injunction against the preparations for the much-anticipated Botswana Golden Grand Prix, casting uncertainty over the event scheduled for April 14 in Gaborone. 

Justice Tshepo Motswagole ruled that the preparations by the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) and other involved parties must be paused until a hearing set for April 5, throwing the athletics event into limbo.

The court's decision came after Glody Dube, director of Golden Door Sports Agency, represented by lawyer Ishmael Matebele, sought a stay of execution concerning unresolved issues between his agency and seven other respondents. 

These include the Botswana Athletics Association, the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC), WRAG Group, World Athletics, individuals Moses Bantsi and Robert Wagner, and Tuelo Serufho.

The legal contention stems from World Athletics' termination of their contract with Golden Door Sports Agency, subsequently awarding the rights to organize the prestigious event to BAA. 

A statement from the Botswana Athletics Association detailed the impact of the court's order.

"We refer to the Court Order dated 27th March 2024. As previously communicated, we were served with court papers by Golden Door Sport Agency concerning the Botswana Golden Grand Prix Event scheduled for 14th April 2024 in Gaborone. The matter was heard yesterday, resulting in an order that interdicts BAA, BNSC, and their officials from executing and preparing for the event on 14th April pending the final determination of the matter on 5th April 2024. Therefore, any preparatory undertakings would be deemed contemptuous by the courts," it reads in part.

The BAA expressed its preparedness to proceed with the event as planned but acknowledged the limitations imposed by the court's decision. 

"Even if we are successful on the 5th April, it would be very late to execute the event on the 14th April, considering the necessary preparations to host a world-class event. We humbly seek your indulgence to reschedule or postpone the event due to the reasons articulated above," the association added.

The high court's order also specifically barred Serufho and Bantsi from participating in any event preparations in their respective roles, along with WRAG Group and Wagner from participating in or benefiting financially from the event. 

The international respondents, including WRAG Group, World Athletics, and Wagner, have been directed to submit their opposing papers by April 3 if they choose to contest the injunction.

The injunction raises questions about the future of the Botswana Golden Grand Prix, a key event in the athletics calendar and puts a spotlight on the legal entanglements that can ensnare major sports events. 

With the final determination pending on April 5, stakeholders and fans alike are left in suspense awaiting a resolution that will determine the fate of the 2024 event.

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