Tough times call for tough measures. Soccer fans will have to dig deeper to watch local matches this year once a proposal to adjust upwards gate charges is adopted at a stakeholders meeting scheduled for February 13.
The proposed gate charges have pegged local games between K1 000 and K1 500 while international games are at K2 000.
The new charges will be effected immediately with the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Guinea expected to be the starting point.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) general secretary (GS) Suzgo Nyirenda justified the upward adjustment of the gate charges, saying they would suit the country’s economic dynamics.
Nyirenda said: “Right now a Super League match is at K500 which is less than a dollar. International games are at K1 000 which is about $1.40. These charges were introduced over two years ago when a dollar was equal to around K450 and we have maintained them since then.”
Nyirenda said the proposed charges were necessary since the cost of goods and services had skyrocketed.
“If you look at how we spend just to host a national team or Super League game, you would appreciate why the charges have to go up,” he said.
“It’s something we should have done long time ago. If people want the best out of our football, we need to adjust the charges now.”
Nyirenda added that Malawi’s gate charges are the lowest in the region when compared to those of the neghbouring countries.
“Just across the border in Zambia, local games are at $20 [about K15 000] while international games are at $30 [K22 500],” Nyirenda said.
The FAM GS said next season, FAM will also have to incorporate a cut from gate charges for Players Welfare Fund which the association has introduced; hence ,the need to adjust the charges.
Unlike in the past when Super League games were categorised, FAM wants all match charges to be uniform.
“We don’t want to have one at K1 000 another at K500. If a Super League game is at K1 000 or K1 500, let all the games be like that,” he said.
The stakeholders meeting will also discuss gate management as the Super League of Malawi (Sulom) and FAM move in to curb gate collections pilfering.
“I am glad that clubs have come out to stop supporters from claiming money from gate collections,” he said.
“We also want to scrutinise all outsourcing companies to make sure that once we do away with supporters being at the turnstiles, we also have reputable companies managing the gates.”
Sulom vice-president Daud Suleman said it was high time Malawi football were accorded a value that it deserves.
“It’s sad that we let our games to be at a meagre K500 for a long time. I know some people will say the proposed charges are too high for a local Malawian, but the message is Malawi football is not cheap,” Suleman said.
“I would rather we have just a few people at the stadium who have paid K2 000 than a crowd that has entered for free while those that have paid have coughed just K500 or even less than that.”