The cost of December 28’s aborted TNM Super League championship decider between holders Silver Strikers and Mighty Wanderers is proving to be higher.
This is so as stadium owners Balaka District Council wants the Super League of Malawi (Sulom) to meet K4 million (about $10 000) estimated cost of repairing the stadium’s fence which fans damaged in a stampede that left Wanderers’ fan Lemiyasi Josita dead.
The council’s director of planning and development David Gondwe confirmed that the estimated cost was arrived at after a management meeting which further resolved to come up with tighter venue hiring measures that include signing contracts.
“After we conducted a thorough assessment of the damage, the rough estimates are that it will cost K4 million. We cannot straighten the current fence as it is in bad shape. We need a new one.
The council is seriously concerned as the fence was a donation from Andiamo Cooperative Trust,” Gondwe explained yesterday.
He admitted that there was no contract signed with Sulom when using the venue as the council never envisaged that such fracas could lead to damage.
Sulom were yesterday expected to release a determination on Silver and Wanderers’ appeals against eight months and five months bans in addition to K2.95 million and K700 000 (about $1 750) fines respectively for the hooliganism.
All along the council had trust that 40 police officers it recommends for security at the venue were enough to prevent a disaster but Sulom opted for 20, hence asking them to meet the costs.
“We also rely on the revenue which the stadium generates from the Super League games, so once management meets, we will write to Sulom. We understand that the incident was not of their making but they still have to help us with the bill. We need to reach a compromise,” Gondwe concluded.
Reacting to the council’s demand yesterday, Sulom general secretary Williams Banda simply said “we may need to get their report and discuss with them on the damage though we have no report yet.”
The Balaka match assessor Moffat Champiti also told The Daily Times that he was demanding money for the repair of his motor car which hooligans smashed during the stadium violence.
Silver were one foot into their third consecutive league title when the violence broke out after the Bankers had gone ahead through Chawanangwa Kaonga’s first-half goal.