FAM has allayed fears of an imminent cup competitions’ sponsorship drought amid growing concerns from the football fraternity .
This follows the withdrawal of the Carlsberg Cup sponsorship and the uncertainty over the future of Fisd Challenge Cup and Airtel Top 8.
The withdrawal of Carlsberg Cup sponsorship and the uncertainty over the future of Fisd Challenge Cup and Airtel Top 8 have raised fears over cup competitions within the football fraternity.
Castel Malawi, sponsors of the Carlsberg Cup, announced the withdrawal of their sponsorship last month while the Fisd Challenge Cup is behind schedule as it was supposed to be launched on August 20, but FAM says it is yet to get the greenlight from the sponsor.
On the other hand, the three-year Airtel Top 8 tournament contract expired this year and FAM are currently negotiating on the possibility of securing a new deal.
However, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has allayed the fears, saying they are on top of things.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said over the years, the association has managed to get the confidence of corporates and new doors continue to open.
“I can guarantee the clubs that they will have exciting sponsorship that will provide wholesome entertainment to the fans. The issue for us is to strike the balance on the number of sponsors so that clubs are not over taxed and burdened with too many competitions.
“We are also looking at landing big sponsorship so that the take home is greater for the clubs,” he said.
“It’s not like we have been quite. We have always been in the market hunting for sponsorship to replace Castel and ensure that we have an optimum number of sponsors. So far, we have received a lot of enquiries from interested sponsors. We are optimistic of filling the void sooner than later.”
He further said the Carlsberg Cup was a sudden as such it was not possible for FAM to put it in a contingency plan.
In an interview, Be Forward Wanderers chairperson Gift Mkandawire described the development as a cause for worry.
“When there is doubt over all the three cup tournaments, surely that should be a cause for concern.
“FAM needs to come out in the open on where we stand because even the Fisd Challenge Cup is also behind schedule,” he said.
He suggested the need work out deliberate incentives from government such as discounted tax, “as negotiating for tax waiver would be a mammoth battle”.
Silver Strikers general secretary Lawrence Yobe said from what is happening, there is growing fear and frustration among football stakeholders, including players and fans.
“These trends retard the growth of football in general as the less trophies there are to fight for, the less competitive games teams play and eventually it affects not only the performance of the players, but also clubs’ revenue and entertainment for the supporters,” he told Weekend Nation.
Yobe further advised FAM to consider engaging government to set up conducive environment to encourage companies to invest in football.
“FAM should lobby with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture for tax incentives for private companies that sponsor such cups to lure more private institutions to support football,” he said.
On his part, Civil Sporting Club general secretary Ronald Chiwaula said: “It’s quite shocking and a sad development. This will affect us as a club since most players fight for honours and it’s quite discouraging to lose sponsorship just like that.
“My advice to FAM is to go flat out and find serious sponsors and come up with strict conditions on termination of such sponsorship.”
Silver forward Green Harawa described the situation as worrisome and discouraging.
“Apart from individual awards, there are game bonuses and prize money which motivate players,” he said.
On the suggestion from clubs to consider lobbying government for tax incentives for sponsors, Nyamilandu said that depends on government policy and how Parliament can support that policy.