Some TNM Super League clubs’ officials have said Super League of Malawi (Sulom) needs to consult them before it engages TNM on the prospects of extending the sponsorship deal which expires at the end of next season.
The development comes in the wake of the mobile network service provider’s pledge to bankroll the flagship league for another 10 years.
Nyasa Big Bullets chairperson Noel Lipipa, his Azam Tigers counterpart Sydney Chikoti and Silver Strikers general secretary (GS) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda said Sulom needs to exercise caution and consult the clubs thoroughly so that their needs should be accommodated.
Lipipa said it is imperative that Sulom should start the (consultative) process now other than later.
“Our expectation is that Sulom, being our mother body, will not take short cuts but involve us in the process. As clubs we need an improved deal that will benefit us as is the case in other neighbouring countries,” he said.
On his part, Chikoti said: “As a club, we have never been consulted by Sulom, probably because we are deemed as a small team.
“Nevertheless, our expectation is that this time around, before they [Sulom] start negotiating, they should find ways to have consultative meetings with clubs to hear their views and see how they can be taken up with the sponsor.”
Chikoti cited the K1 million subventions which each club gets, saying its review is long overdue.
“K1 million today doesn’t mean much from 10 years ago. Worse still, the money does not reach the club in ‘cash’ per se as Sulom deducts it for other things such as fines and registration. So, there is need for something meaningful.
“Generally, there is need to negotiate for a much better [sponsorship] package,” he said.
Chakaka Nyirenda said the sponsorship package needs to reflect the mileage that TNM gets from sponsoring the league.
“The cost of fulfilling the fixtures is by far much, less than what we get from the sponsorship in terms of subventions and the prize money. Sponsorship package needs to be hiked three or four times.
“We know that it’s a corporate social responsibility, but there are also commercial gains for them” he said.
However, Sulom treasurer Tiya Somba-Banda said the consultation process with the teams is already underway.
“As Sulom, we are messengers of the teams and at the moment we are in the process of getting their input on the contract and not just the prize money.
“Our priority is to ensure that the clubs’ interests are satisfied while at the same time ensuring that the sponsor’s objectives are also met,” he said.
For the past two seasons TNM has sponsored the domestic top-flight league to the tune of K180 million while in Zimbabwe Delta Beverages are sponsoring the Premier Soccer league to the tune of $3.6 million (about K2.6 billion) over three years where as in Zambia, MTN Zambia sponsors that country’s top flight league at $3 million (about K2.19 billion) for a two year-duration. n