Super League of Malawi (Sulom) has lost TNM sponsorship following Competition and Fair Trade Commission (CFTC) ruling that when renewing the contract, clauses that stop Sulom and clubs from entering agreements with other mobile service providers should be scraped off.
According to our source, the mobile and data service provider met Sulom and Football Association of Malawi (FAM) officials on Friday in Blantyre, where it dropped the bomb.
Sulom general secretary Williams Banda confirmed the development, but said they would issue a press release on the matter.
“They have suspended sponsorship and contract renewal negotiations,” he said.
Sulom wants to plead with Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development to intervene. It wants to beg government to be lenient on TNM because once they pull out; it will be tough to get another sponsor a month before the season kicks off next month.
TNM senior manager responsible for public relations Akossa Mphepo confirmed meeting Sulom and FAM, but refused to comment on the discussions.
“Let’s just say TNM met with Sulom and FAM to discuss the findings of CFTC. This is all we can communicate for now,” she said.
According to the contract between the two parties, TNM entrusts Sulom with the responsibility to refrain from entering other agreements which would restrict or prevent them from providing the rights granted to TNM.
The contract, which gives TNM naming, promotion and advertising rights, restricts Sulom or clubs from getting sponsorship, promotional, advertising or similar rights to other persons, firm, company, corporation or other body involved or concerned in the products and services related or similar to TNM products.
Article 10.1 of the contract reads: “Sulom shall ensure that (save and except for TNM), no other person, firm, company, corporation or other body involved or concerned in the products and services related or similar to TNM products, will have or be given any sponsorship, promotional, advertising or similar rights for any purpose whatsoever associated or connected with the sponsorship.”
CFTC says this is against Competition and Fair Trading Commission Act.
“In its determination, the commission established that the sponsorship agreement that TNM signed with Sulom had some clauses that were restrictive and potentially prevented Sulom and football teams participating in the Super League from accessing sponsorship from competitors of TNM,” reads a CFTC ruling.
“In this regard in the event that the two parties agree to renew the sponsorship, the agreement should be submitted to the Competition and Fair Trading Commission for assessment of compliance with the Competition and Fair Trade Act.”