Super League of Malawi (Sulom) is investigating World Star Betting-Malawi for incoporating local football matches in bets without following proper procedures.
In an interview, Sulom president Tiya Somba-Banda said the league and its clubs are losing out on financial benefits and that the company’s failure to liaise with the top-flight league-runners exposes the game to match-fixing risks.
“There is no agreement between Sulom and World Star Betting. They are incorporating local matches illegally. We have been searching for their physical address without success,” he said.
Somba-Banda said the league runners have no problem with their clubs being used in betting, it should be procedural as they have to ensure everything is in line with Fifa regulations.
“Involvement of our clubs in betting has to be done carefully to protect our players and officials because betting is also associated with match-fixing issues. So, everything has to be done in accordance with Fifa regulations,” he said.
“Moreover, as Super League commercial
rights holders, we need to make sure both the league and clubs benefit from the betting arrangements. But as of now, we do not know how the betting company acquires information regarding Super League match results and fixtures.”
Malawi Gaming Board and National Lotteries Board senior compliance officer Mirriam Kumbuyo yesterday said Sulom’s complaint is legitimate because as per the betting rules, the betting companies are required to buy fixtures from the local football league runners before using the local football clubs’ names.
“This is why PremierBet Malawi does not include local football matches on their bets because proper consultations have to be made first. What we can urge Sulom is to lodge an official complaint to us,” she said.
Nyasa Big Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga said it is worrisome that some betting companies are involving them illegally, thereby depriving them of the revenue that could help clubs run without financial challenges.
“In fact, this is a wake-up call for Sulom and FAM [Football Association of Malawi] to be proactive in setting up control measures and make restrictions clear,” he said.
Ntopwa FC owner Isaac ‘Jomo’ Osman said most football clubs in the country are struggling financially due to lack of sponsorship; hence, “no betting company should just wake up and use our names for nothing”.
FAM commercial and marketing director Limbani Matola yesterday said betting is a new phenomenon in the country and some betting firms are taking advantage of this to exploit Malawi football.
“The betting firms really have to cough something for using our clubs’ names because they do that for commercial purposes. Although the Gaming Board issues betting rights, football rights holders [Sulom, FAM and clubs] have to benefit,” he said.
Matola said FAM will consult relevant stakeholders to make sure everything is back to normal