The Flames’ Umbro technical sponsorship deal is on the verge of collapse following Football Association of Malawi’s (FAM) failure to fulfill contractual obligations.
FAM struck the deal with Umbro in 2014 and the football governing body was supposed to order 5 000 replicas that year, 5 500 in 2015 and 6 500 this year.
However, FAM has only ordered the first consignment of 5 000 pieces 300 of which remain unsold.
The kit deal ends next year and FAM needs K217 million to order the remaining 11 500 pieces agreed in the contract.
FAM commercial director Limbani Matola has since hinted that the association will be forced to pull out of the deal.
Matola said it is impossible to fulfil the contractual agreement on replica sales arguing that the devaluation of the Kwacha has worsened matters.
“If the replicas we ordered in 2014 when the Kwacha had not devalued are failing to sell at K15 000, will it be possible to sell them at more than K20 000?” he asked.
The commercial director said currently the FAM marketing subcommittee is analysing the replica business and would present a report to the FAM executive committee meeting next week on the future of the Umbro deal.
“One of the options would be to pull out of the deal because honestly, the business is not making sense and Umbro would understand if we decide to part ways,” he said.
This will be the third replicas deal to collapse. Other deals with Adidas and Puma also collapsed due to the poor replicas sales.
Analysts have since questioned FAM’s marketing strategy and advised it to stop partnering with global brands whose replicas are too expensive for an average Malawian.
Sports business analyst Felix Ngamanya Sapao has faulted FAM for failing to read the replicas market before courting international brands.
He said the football governing body should have opted for cheap kit manufacturers that could produce replicas at an affordable price.
“The truth is that most Malawian football fans cannot afford K15 000 replica. The best FAM could do is engage a firm that can produce the jerseys that could be sold for say, K5000 or less,” he said.