Far from better. Those who were expecting to watch live on Beta Television the country’s biggest domestic fixture, the Blantyre Derby between age-old rivals Be Forward Wanderers and Nyasa Big Bullets, might as well forget about it following revelations that an industrial action is looming at the exclusive television rights holders.
Staff at the local television station have gone for several months without pay, according to our source, and they have given their management an ultimatum with Friday as the deadline or else they will not shoot the Blantyre Derby.
“We haven’t been paid, some up to six months. The company’s directors are all being elusive. We don’t even know if the Saturday game will be broadcast. Actually, the staff has written them [the directors] a grievance letter with an ultimatum to respond by Friday or there will be no shooting of the match,” the source said.
Head of production Mario le Grange confirmed the development and said they were hoping the directors would sort out the problems before Saturday.
Asked for assurance on the beaming of the derby, Le Grange said: “No, I cannot. There are bigger issues than soccer here. Soccer is just a small thing at the television. The fact that the staff are not being paid is an insult.
“The staff have written a letter to the directors giving them Friday noon deadline. I am writing them mine and my deadline is tomorrow [Thursday] noon. If they don’t respond by noon I am consulting my lawyers [on the next course of action].”
Asked to elaborate on the issues at the station, Le Grange said he would release a press statement today.
Beta TV director Maneno Mtawali said he could not comment as he was feeling unwell.
Super League of Malawi (Sulom) said they were not aware of the situation, but general secretary Williams Banda said the issue was internal.
“The issue is between Beta Television and its staff. What we know is that we signed a contract with Beta Television to beam Super League matches, including the one on Saturday,” he said.
Beta Television and Sulom sealed a K266 million exclusive broadcasting rights deal in July after the media house outbid Times Television and Matindi Television (MTV).
Clubs will share equally 80 percent of the K266 million TV rights revenue which translates to K212 million while 20 percent (K53 million) will go to Sulom. n