Football Association of Malawi (FAM) is in a tight spot after awarding ticket-printing deals to two firms for the Carlsberg Cup final between Be Forward Wanderers and Masters Security played on October 20 at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
Initially, the soccer governing body awarded the deal to Hallmark Creations following a meeting with the two clubs, but a day before the match, FAM informed the two finalists that they had opted for Nitel for the task, a move which did not please clubs.
As a result, FAM is set to pay Hallmark K500 000 for the tickets the firm printed but were not used in the final match.
Hallmark head of production and marketing Timothy Nzima confirmed being contracted by FAM to print tickets for the match, but he said they did not get any communication after producing the tickets.
“It was agreed [with FAM] that we print 20 000 tickets and we are still keeping the tickets [weeks after the game was played].”
Asked on their next course of action, Nzima said: “We cannot discuss the way forward with the media because it’s between us and FAM.”
Nitel head of business development and sales Godwin Chimseu said apart from producing tickets for the match, their deal with FAM also included manning the gates.
“We printed 13 066 tickets on the day of the match upon agreement with FAM who wanted e-ticketing service for the match and we provided that,” he said.
Both Wanderers and Masters confirmed that during their pre-match meeting with FAM, it was agreed to engage Hallmark Creations for the production of tickets.
Said Masters general secretary Zachariah Nyirenda: “We were, therefore, surprised when we got a call from FAM informing us about the changes.
“We felt this was not proper as the agreement had already been reached to engage Hallmark Creations. We tried to reason with them, but it did not work.”
On his part, Nomads general secretary Mike Butao said while they were surprised with FAM’s decision to opt for Nitel.
“We later understood their position because Nitel were supposed to provide e-ticketing.
“However, we were disappointed that Nitel printed the tickets, handled the cash, manned the gates to check the tickets and also did the reconciliation. This is disturbing. Where are the checks and balances?” wondered Butao.
But FAM competitions sub-committee chairperson Jabbar Alide said they would comment on the issue after an executive committee meeting where the issue is expected to be tabled.