Confusion has arisen between some Malawian Super League teams and Sulom over which kits to use between those that were supplied by the leagueâ€™s sponsor TNM and American sports merchandise company Nsejjere Sports and Casual Wear.
Silver Strikers, Escom United and Big Bullets have said as per contracts they signed with the Nsejjere, they are bound to wear kits supplied by the sportswear firm other than Puma kits that were donated by sponsors of the league TNM.
However, Sulom on Wednesday warned the three clubs that doing so would be in breach of the agreement with the sponsor.
Defending champions Silver Strikers wore their Nsejjere kit when they faced Bullets in their opening match last Saturday and their chairperson Dr. McDonald Mafuta-Mwale justified the move saying his club is bound by the contract they signed with Nsejjere.
“We, as Silver, have a three-year running contract with Nsejjere and one of the clauses stipulates that we are not supposed to wear another brand other than theirs.
“So, let me clarify here that the reason we did not wear donated by the leagueâ€™s sponsor was because we would have been in conflict with out technical sponsors.
“I am certain that the situation applies to our friends who also have contracts with Nsejjere [Escom, Bullets and Wanderers]. In as far as we are concerned, there is also no problem with our wearing Nsejjere kit because we can still print the sponsorâ€™s name [TNM] on the front,” said Mafuta-Mwale.
Stick to agreements
He claimed that prior to the start of the season, the four teams had been discussing the issue.
However, Mafuta-Mwale suggested that the best thing would be for all the concerned parties to meet and map the way forward.
His Escom counterpart Fanuel Nkhono shared his views.
“I entirely agree with Dr. Mwale that the best thing for us clubs that signed contracts with Nsejjere would be to stick to the agreement.
“After all, apart from the kits supplied by Nsajjere, we also benefit in terms of a cut from the sale of replicas and their brand is of high quality. So, yes, we would also rather use Nsejjere kits,” said Nkhono.
Bullets chairperson Malinda Chinyama blamed Sulom for not providing details on the sponsorship agreement with TNM to the clubs.
“It is true that we are bound by the contract we signed with Nsajjere. As we have been saying, the problem is that we are in the dark on the agreement between TNM and Sulom on such issues and as long as we are ignorant about the agreement, there is bound to be conflict in some areas such as the kit one because we do not know what they agreed,” argued Chinyama.
However, while agreeing that Sulom indeed never bothered to brief the clubs on the contents of the contract with TNM, Wanderers general secretary David Kanyenda said their position is that they can use both TNM and Nsejjere kit because the former is also in breach of the deal they signed.
“To begin with, I do not have the copy of the contract that we have with Nsejjere as it was executed by our previous executive committee.
“But at law, we are entitled to repudiate the contract if Nsejjere is in breach and to the best of my knowledge, they are in breach because they are yet to give us our cut. To add on to that, Nsejjere have not yet given us kits to use for this season and last season, they only gave us one home kit. We are therefore entitled to treat ourselves as discharged from performing our obligations under the contract.
“However, I do agree with the point raised by our friends that we do not know what was agreed between Sulom and TNM as regards the kits. That is my preliminary opinion subject to further consultation,” said Kanyenda.
But reacting to the development, Sulom GS Banda said: “Firstly, we donâ€™t know of that agreement [between Nsejjere and the said clubs]. Secondly, it would have been wiser for the teams to inform us about their position before the sponsor ordered the uniforms because in so doing, the sponsor would not have bought uniforms for them.
“We would not in any way condone such act because there are costs involved and the money should have been used for other things.
“The fact that they accepted the kits from the sponsor [of the league] meant that they would use them,” added the Sulom GS.
He also said Sulom will follow up the issue with the concerned teams.