Even before the match is played, stakeholders are scrambling for gate revenue from the Carlsberg Cup final between Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers at Bingu National Stadium (BNS) this afternoon.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and the two clubs are at loggerheads over gate management.
The bone of contention is FAM’s decision to hire Masters Security to provide services at a 12 percent commission of the gate revenue.
With covered stands tickets for the high-profile final at the 40 000-capacity stadium going at K3 000, the match has a potential of raking in about K50 million.
This means the security firm stands to pocket K6 million for supervising the match.
This has angered the two clubs who claim that other service providers get seven percent.
Bullets general secretary Albert Chigoga confirmed that a meeting failed to resolve the standoff.
“Masters Security has no track record of managing gates unless someone should school me on this. Normally, gate management agents get seven percent maximum, but FAM for whatever reasons, would like to pay 12 percent to both Masters Security and those selling tickets from the designated points. This is five percent more than the normal fee given forgate management.
“We tried to resolve the issues amicably by calling for a meeting with FAM commercial and marketing director [Limbani Matola], but the meeting failed to bring the much needed solution. We do not have confidence in Masters Security as gate managers, 12 percent is not justifiable as it is meant to rob teams of our revenue and tickets should be sold on match day. Instead of offering solution, our representatives were told blatantly that they have no powers, all powers belong to FAM.”
Chigoga warned that the clubs will retaliate.
“Because FAM thinks Bullets and Wanderers have no powers, watch us as we now exercise our powers and don’t come begging for sanity. You have wasted the opportunity for dialogue and watch us play our game,” he said.
But FAM commercial and marketing director Limbani Matola claimed some of the clubs’ officials had pocketed kickbacks to recommend a particular firm.
He said: “Take note FAM is there to safeguard your [clubs] interests. We have information that some of your people were being offered “commission” for them to recommend a gate management company. And sensing danger, the competition committee decided to bring in a new firm and those people are now frustrated. We know they will do anything to discredit FAM and some of its employees. We are not even surprised that others have now taken a smear campaign against Masters Security Services.”
He also disputed claims that gate management agents will pocket 12 percent of the gross revenue.
“All sales agents will get five percent sales commission as per standard practice. Masters Security will get six percent which is far below the seven percent we give other service providers,” he said.
But Wanderers general secretary Mike Butao described FAM’s statements as misleading.
He said: “This is an insult to the teams. How does FAM attempt to deflect attention from pertinent issues raised by clubs by insulting the teams? Nobody is conducting a smear campaign against Masters Security. If we wanted to do that, we would cite one particular example at Civo Stadium when this firm worked and things did not go as desired? But we will not because our problem is FAM and not hired firms. We are simply asking what track record Masters Security have to justify their hiring.
“Even if FAM might have the power to hire such firms, surely there has to be a basis for their decisions. And to allege that some officials have been offered kickbacks is downright idiotic am sorry to say. Let FAM address the issues raised by the clubs or prepare for the fallout from the standoff.”
But Matola said FAM has put everything in place to resolve the standoff. n