Nsejjere Sports and Casual Wear Limited has sued Super League of Malawi (Sulom) for $10 million (K3.1 billion) for stopping clubs to wear the companyâ€™s branded uniforms.
The case is in the Lilongwe High Court, pending hearing.
According to court documents, Nsejjere Sports and Casual Wear entered into replica jersey deals with Silver Strikers, Big Bullets, Wanderers Football Club and Escom United.
In the deals, the US sports company signed contracts with the four clubs to supply sports merchandise, which they honoured, and in turn, the clubs were expected to play their role by exclusively using Nsejjere-branded kits in football competitions.
However, the deals fell through allegedly after Sulom stopped the clubs from using Nsejjere-branded uniforms.
Nsejjere argues in court that â€œby writing the clubs not to use Nsejjere uniforms in their TNM Super League games to which the plaintiff had an exclusive agreement to supply them with its products, Sulom (the defendant) induced the clubs to breach an agreement which was binding on the plaintiff and the clubs.â€
â€œThe action taken by the defendant (Sulom) made the clubs to breach the agreement for fear of reprisals which the defendant had actually warned the clubs; hence, the contractual interference between the clubs and the plaintiff,â€ reads in part the statement of claim signed by Nsejjereâ€™s lawyers Lincoln, Edwards and Company.
Moses Nkhono of Lincoln, Edwards and Company, said in an interview that by reason of breach of contracts by the respective clubs, the plaintiff has suffered loss and damage and seeks K3.1 billion.
â€œThe plaintiff has lost opportunity costs because the agreement provided that the supply would treble each year; hence, increasing the returns of the sales of the products of the plaintiff through the respective clubs,â€ said Nkhono.
â€œOur client has lost economic value of the minimum order of quantity as agreed between the plaintiff and the clubs for the period of breach for which the agreements subsisted or would subsist,â€ said Nkhono.
Nsejjere country director Jacob Chikoya, said as a firm, they tried to talk to Sulom on the issue to settle the matter out of court, but Sulom were â€œuncooperativeâ€.
â€œWe tried to arrange meetings with Sulom, through their president Mr. Innocent Bottomani, but he was uncooperative. Even our London office tried to negotiate with Mr. Bottomani, but he again did not cooperate; hence, the board in Seattle met and decided to proceed with legal redress,â€ Chikoya said in an interview on Monday.
Bottomani on Monday said he is yet to get the summons, but acknowledged that he had received communication from both Mr. Chikoya and Nsejjere London office.
â€œWe could not settle the issue on the phone. It does not work that way and I made that clear. The secretariat will be able to comment on that once our legal team studies the case,â€ said Bottomani.
Nsejjere has been in the country for two years. They first signed the deal with Silver Strikers under the blessings of the Football Association of Malawi (FAM).
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu graced the Silver/Nsejjere deal and bought the first jersey at K50 000.