TNM Super League clubs have complained of Super League of Malawi’s (Sulom) delay to give them their broadcasting rights revenue share for the 2019 season.
As per the agreement, each of the 16 top-flight league teams was expected to get its broadcast rights dues at the end of the season, a month ago.
Some of the clubs, including Nyasa Big Bullets, Karonga United and Civo have since written Sulom, demanding an explanation on the delay which they say make them fear a repeat of the 2016 scenario whereby they got nothing after a broadcast deal with Beta Television (TV) flopped. Sulom came up with the current set up of allowing media houses game-by-game broadcasting of live matches on television or radio after Beta TV failed to honour its obligation on a K266 million broadcast rights deal. Then, the clubs were supposed to share 80 percent of the cake, translating to a sum of K212million.
Sulom charges media houses at least K450 000 to beam a Super League match on television and K350 000 to broadcast on radio.
“As I am talking, we have written Sulom asking them to explain why they are delaying to give us the broadcasting rights revenue share,” said Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga.
“We need clarity and transparency on this issue because we do not want a repeat of the previous predicament.”
He, however, said the clubs are not aware of how much they are supposed to get because they were not party to the agreement Sulom and the media houses made regarding the payment procedures.
Karonga chairperson Alufeyo Chipanga said as one of the elite league teams that do not have sponsorship, bank on broadcast rights revenue share to meet some of their expenses.
Civo general secretary Ronald Chiwaula said his club will take Sulom to task over the issue, but could not explain how they would ensure they get their share.
However, Sulom general secretary Williams Banda has blamed the delay on some local broadcasters’ failure to pay them.
But he did not disclose names of the media houses nor the amount they are owing Sulom. He also could not explain the agreed payment terms with the broadcasters.
However, Nation on Sunday has found out from some of the stations interviewed that the arrears were not for last season.
In an interview, Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) controller of commercial affairs Emmanuel Maliro said: “I don’t think what they are saying is true if all the stations are treated the same because last season we were paying upfront. Sulom was also strict on rights issues because of what happened in the previous seasons.”
Timveni Radio football commentator Innocent Chitimbe, whose radio station covered most of the games than any station, said they do not owe Sulom.
“We covered most games because we managed to convince our advertisers, but we don’t owe Sulom anything because they were strict,” he said.
An inside source, who opted for anonymity, said the amount owed is in the range of between K10 million and K20 million.
Football analyst George Kaudza Masina faulted Sulom, saying these anomalies are due to the lack of a fully functioning secretariat.
“Sulom is run by part time personnel, who are not committed to the affairs of the league; hence, all these anomalies,” he said.
Kaudza Masina said blaming the media houses for not honouring their dues is not justifiable.
“In the first place, when did they realise that the media houses were not paying? What was their agreed payment terms? The teams are justified, taking into account the aborted TV rights which was there but clubs did not benefit due to Sulom’s negligence”, he said.