Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has made a U-turn on its earlier decision to pull out of a pay television deal with Malawi Digital Broadcasting Network Limited (MDBNL).
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda on Monday confirmed that this comes after the Ministry of Information and MDBNL pleaded with the local soccer governing body not to pull out of the deal that will see them launch a pay television channel dedicated to local football on MDBNL’s platform.
FAM decided to walk away from the partnership and vowed to explore other options a week ago following the aborted launch of the deal three weeks ago due to MDBNL officials’ failure to turn up at a signing ceremony.
However, Gunda on Monday said they have reversed their earlier decision and will proceed with the deal after FAM executive committee discussed the request at its quarterly meeting in Mangochi on Saturday.
Pay television is considered the best alternative for football clubs to earn more revenue besides gate collections.
“We have come a long-way to let this very important deal flop as we were only remaining with the signing ceremony. We are happy that government has now shown seriousness on the implementation of the project,” he said.
“Leveraging revenue through the broadcast of matches and other football-related programmes is the best solution to the clubs’ financial woes.”
Gunda said the dedicated football channel will also help people understand what is being done on the ground to improve the standards of the game, considering the fact that “seeing is believing”.
Said the FAM GS: “Through various football programmes on the channel, we will be able to garner support for a number of our initiatives such as grassroots football as the public will be seeing for themselves what is happening on the ground. This is what is happening in countries such as Zambia and South Africa.”
Minister of Information Gospel Kazako on Monday said his Ministry and MDBNL are committed to supporting the rolling out of the project and will meet this week to draw a new roadmap for its implementation.
“This [TV deal] will be done and in a grand style. It is a brilliant idea. The ministry believes in it and we know it is in line with how we want to operate. In fact, we have been the chief advocators of this project because this will not only change football fortunes but many other things as well,” he said.
MDBNL chief executive officer Dennis Chirwa said they have always been committed to the deal only that communication breakdown between them and FAM led to their unavailability at the partnership signing.
“We communicated to FAM that we are ready and available. There were some minor technical issues that could always be resolved as long as we come together at a round-table,” he said.