Ayear after the launch of the K10 million Nsejjere League and K8 million Countrywide Car Hire Cup sponsorships, Southern Region Football Association (SRFA) and the two companies are set to battle in court over the deals.
The two sponsorships were launched in January 2015.
After a few games were played, Countrywide Car Hire Cup was halted due to lack of funds while Nsejjere claims there was no sponsorship contract with SRFA.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu has since advised SRFA to take legal action against the two companies for failing to fulfil their obligation.
“Indeed, it has been brought to our attention and the matter will be tabled for discussion by the executive committee. It’s unfortunate that the sponsors that were secured have failed to honour their commitments. This is very unfair.
“FAM will sit down to discuss how the league can be bailed out to ensure that the season ends smoothly. It is also necessary for SRFA to seek legal action on the matter because football can’t be taken for a ride,” said Nyamilandu.
Countrywide Car Hire managing director Mike Mlobwa was not available for comment but last year he promised that the cup would be completed once funds were available.
But Nsejjere lawyer Moses Nkhono said there was neither a contract nor an agreement between his client and SRFA.
He has challenged SRFA and FAM to produce such a document to support their claims that Nsejjere has abdicated its sponsorship obligation.
“We have even asked the SRFA through the chairperson Raphael Humba to produce evidence of Nsejjere’s commitment but to no avail. He (Humba) claimed there was communication between him and Nsejjere through e-mails but when I asked him to forward such documents to me for perusal, there is no reply. This proves Nsejjere did not, at any time, show commitment to bankroll the 2015 league,” he said.
However, Nkhono said if the SRFA would like to obtain support for next season, the door is open so that they can sit down and discuss the matter.
“Sponsorship deals need to be agreed upon by the two concerned parties and a binding contract need to be signed before a competition. That is the normal procedure we expect the SRFA to follow before any claim over sponsorship is made,” Nkhono said.
But in 2015, the then Nsejjere representative Jacob Chikoya announced that they would rescue SRFA by paying K1.5 million prize money for 2014/15 season while the 2015/16 season sponsorship would be at K10 million.
Some days later, Countrywide Car Hire joined the bandwagon and also announced at a colourful launch held at the same venue that they would pump K8 million into a regional cup to be competed for by all districts in the region.
All of a sudden SRFA became the envy of the football fraternity ravaged by lack of corporate sponsorship.
At first, SRFA was diplomatic about the situation opting not to discuss the issue in the media.
Humba several times dismissed claims that the two companies were playing hide-and-seek with SRFA on the sponsorship deal.
“Those are rumours from my haters. Our relationship with the said sponsors is growing bigger by each passing day,” said Humba in October 2015.
But after efforts to have the two companies honour their pledge failed, SRFA general secretary George Pagaja revealed that they had referred the matter to Football Association of Malawi (FAM).
Over 100 clubs paid K10 000 registration fee for the Countrywide Car Hire Cup.
The regional league, which was re-named Nsejjere League to appease the ‘sponsors’, wraps up next week and SRFA clubs have demanded explanation from the league runners on who will pay the prize money. n