Super League of Malawi (Sulom) has halted its plans to top up funds for TNM Super League champions Nyasa Big Bullets’ participation in CAF Champions League due to the absence of gate revenue.
In an interview on Monday, Sulom president Tiya Somba-Banda said considering the Covid-19 situation, it is difficult to fulfil the promise as the league has not been getting gate revenue share due to restrictions on fans’ attendance at matches as a preventive measure against the spread of the virus.
The development comes at a time Bullets are waiting for Sulom to fulfil the pledge ahead of their CAF Champions League first assignment against South Africa’s AmaZulu FC between September 10 and 12.
Somba-Banda said the idea was to be seeding a percentage of the gate-takings as starterpack for the continental club tournament.
“For instance, in the 2018 season, the gate collections were just over half a billion and, if we say we put aside 10 percent of this towards CAF, that’s K50 million already,” he said.
Somba-Banda was responding to a question on whether Bullets will get something from Sulom as part of the fulfilment of the promise this year after the league runners insisted last year that the pledge would still be fulfilled despite the financial crisis due to Covid-19.
The Sulom president said: “The funds were supposed to be coming from the gate collections.”
But Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga said they are still waiting for Sulom to fulfil its pledge because they registered to participate in the Champions League with Sulom’s promise in mind.
“Sulom made the promise to the champions of the league and we are the champions,” he said.
“Of course, we registered to participate in CAF knowing fully that we must take responsibility of fulfilling the requirements upon our shoulders, but we still anticipate Sulom to speak to us. This is not as if we cannot make it without the fulfilment of their promise, but a promise is a promise.”
Football analyst George Kaudza Masina said Sulom could have made the promise in good faith, but, under the present circumstances, it will be a tall order to fulfil the pledge as its main source of finances remains gate collections, apart from administration funds from the league sponsors and clubs’ registration fees.
“With Covid-19 protocols, games are being played in empty stadia, depriving Sulom the much-needed revenue. As such, it will be a tall order for Sulom to fulfil its promise this season,” he said.
“I believe by promising that they will still fulfil their pledge despite the financial crisis due to Covid19, Sulom were just being economical with the truth. Unless a miracle happens, let Sulom swallow its words and Bullets pretend as if there wasn’t a pledge made.”