Blantyre City Council (BCC) has said noise pollution other than operating in a residential area is the reason for ordering Big Bullets FC to close their clubhouse at Mandala in Blantyre.
BCC gave the People’s Team a 30-day period effective March 28 to close the facility for breaching the council’s by-laws which, according to Bullets, included operating a club in a residential designated area.
The council’s director of planning, Costly Chanza, was responding to a question on why several other clubs—including the Bullets’ rivals Mighty Wanderers—are allowed to operate in residential areas.
“It [the order] has to do mainly with the noise pollution because residents within the area have been complaining about it for sometime and we took it up with management of the team to act on the issue.
“Unlike Wanderers and other joints, Bullets have not been able to meet the conditions set to them; hence the decision to order the closure of the club house,” he said.
However, the BCC official said there is still room for negotiations with Bullets management.
“Apparently, the decision was made by the Town Planning Committee which is composed of different organisations and we [council] are only a member.
“But we are scheduled to meet Bullets management either today [Tuesday] or tomorrow [Wednesday] and without pre-empting the outcome, the way forward will be determined after the meeting,” said Chanza.
Bullets general secretary Higger Mkandawire said they will plead with BCC to reconsider their decision as the move could affect the club’s revenue estimated to be around K250 000 (about $625) a month.
“From the proceeds of the revenue generated from the clubhouse, we are able to meet some of the team’s operations mainly players’ salaries and transport.
“It could also have an adverse effect on our ambitious commercialisation drive. So, without pre-empting the meeting that we are going to have with the council, we plead with them to reconsider their decision.
“As a club, we are ready to meet conditions that will be set to ensure continuous operation of the facility,” said Mkandawire.
According to Mkandawire, last season Bullets had a K40 million (about $100 000) budget and apart from the K15 million (about $37.5m) sponsorship they got from Carlsberg Malawi Limited, part of the deficit was met through proceeds from business operations at the clubhouse.
The People’s Team, which basks in the glory of being the most successful team on the domestic scene, opened the club house in 2011.