Malawi’s top football side, Big Bullets FC have led in the revolt against the current gate collections system by declaring that they will not take part in the Super League of Malawi (Sulom) next season unless the system is overhauled.
Bullets believe the current system benefits minor stakeholders at the expense of clubs who are the major stakeholders.
MTL Wanderers, Blantyre United and Silver Strikers are some of the teams that have thrown their weight behind Bullets’ concerns.
The teams want shares that Football Association of Malawi (FAM), Super League of Malawi (Sulom), Sports Council and ground owners receive from Super League games revenue to be drastically reduced or scrapped off completely.
Currently, ground owners get 25 percent, FAM and Sulom 10 percent, Sports Council five percent while the teams share the other 50 percent from the net revenue.
Bullets also want to outsource the managing of the gates from next season.
Bullets general secretary Higger Mkandawire initiated the debate on Thursday morning in reaction to K201 000 (about $591) which Bullets received from a K1.4 million (about $4 117) collected during their game against Escom United on Sunday.
“Enough is enough. Our supporters come in large numbers to support us, but the bigger chunk of collections goes to those who do not deserve.
“In the end, players are not benefiting from their hard work as we pay a lot to other stakeholders for doing literally nothing.
“So, if the system remains the same, count us out next season. We know our games are the ones that attract big crowds everywhere we play, but we get a raw deal,” he said.
Wanderers FC general secretary David Kanyenda, while saying boycotting the league is not the best solution, proposed to have preseason dialogue to look at the matter.
“Indeed, FAM should not get any money from us because they have nothing to do with the Super League just like council. Sulom can get a little percentage as they run the league,” said Kanyenda.
Silver Strikers chairperson Dr McDonald Mafuta Mwale said recently that sponsors are also worried about the gate collection system.
“That is why Reserve Bank of Malawi orders us to go electronic ticketing for all our home games because the [current] system is corrupt,” he said.
Last year, Blantyre United turned down K200 000 (about $588) as their cut from the Standard Bank Cup preliminary match against Bullets which grossed K1.8 million (about $5 294).
Former Bullets general secretary Chimwemwe Nyirenda said outsourcing and the current system of using government cashiers have both loopholes.
“Electronic-ticketing is the way to go because the money goes straight into the bank account. Most football people cannot be trusted with cash. The syndicate is so huge that outsourcing cannot beat it,” he said.
Sulom president Innocent Bottomani said they are ready for dialogue on the issue.
“We understand the teams’ frustration because most do not have sponsorship and rely on gate takings. We are ready to give up or reduce our levy from the games just like other stakeholders,” said Bottomani.
He added that Kamuzu Stadium is where they have more problems with gate-collection flaws.
“The stadium management is adamant in outsourcing that is why questions always rise from gate collections. At Silver, Nankhaka and Civo, they are flexible with outsourcing and it works,” said Bottomani.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said the solution is to negotiate with ground owners to make outsourcing a universal rule in gate collections.
“It is all because most teams do not have own venues and we rely on government grounds and play to their tune. We wrote government last year to revise their policy so that they should just have a standard fee on hiring of the ground and not get a percentage of the actual game’s revenue as it is at the moment.
“We are just waiting for government to come back to us,” said Nyamilandu.