Super League of Malawi’s (Sulom) refusal to adopt clubs’ proposals calling for recruitment of qualified personnel to make the body operate professionally has contradicted the manifesto of its president Innocent Bottoman which promised similar restructuring.
The clubs, at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) held in November last year, recommended that Sulom should recruit a chief executive officer (CEO) and an accountant who would make it be commercially viable.
While seeking re-election, Bottoman, in his manifesto titled 100 Percent Professionalisation of Super League Football, said they would recruit a ceo, an accountant and a commercial manager to help generate revenue to benefit the clubs.
But almost a year after the committee was ushered into power, Sulom general secretary Williams Banda has said Sulom would not implement the proposals, saying it would be illegal and that they do not have funds to pay the personnel.
“We are not going to implement the proposals [recommendations] which clubs made during the EGM to hire a CEO and accountant because it is unconstitutional and costly,” he said.
However, the development has attracted condemnation with critics accusing Sulom of hypocrisy by pushing clubs to go professional through the club licensing system (CLS) while failing to enforce reforms within its set-up.
Be Forward Wanderers general secretary Mike Butao disputed Sulom’s claims that it does not have adequate funds to enforce restructuring.
He said by being in the forefront asking clubs, with or without sponsorship, to adopt reforms, Sulom should not use lack of funds as an excuse.
“Even clubs that do not have sponsors are being asked under club licencing system to employ a full-time administrator and have a secretariat. Sulom still needs to look at restructuring as a long-term solution to move football forward,” he said.
The Nomads GS further claimed that “you only need one game revenue a month to pay a chief executive officer.”
But Banda said their gate collection cut is “not adequate to hire the said personnel because the funds are used to pay referees”.
Quizzed if the stand taken by Sulom against restructuring defeats his key agenda in the manifesto, Bottoman admitted that it is a drawback while adding that there is nothing they can do to reverse the situation.
“We admit that the failure to recruit the CEO, accountant and marketing manager is a setback in our commercialisation drive. But there is nothing we can do about it because it’s all down to legal technicalities and lack of resources,” he said.
Further asked why they cannot amend the constitution to pave the way for the recruitment of the targeted officials, the Sulom president said: “We changed the constitution last year and we can’t make further amendments this soon. Rules are not supposed to be changed anyhow.”
Bottoman said following their failure to recruit commercial or marketing officials, Sulom will be relying on its marketing sub-committee which is headed by vice-president Daud Suleman.
“Daud is a marketer, so we believe that he will do a good job to spearhead commercialisation,” he said.
Among the commercialisation plans, Sulom wants to be selling rights to local television stations to beam livr matches.
Meanwhile, football commentator and marketer Chiku Kalilombe says there is no way Sulom can generate money without having full-time personnel to spearhead commercialisation.
“Using lack of funds as an excuse does not make sense because the professionals who will be employed will be generating money for their own salaries and the institution,” he said.
Kalilombe further advised Sulom to hire marketers who will be paid based on commission.
“I think the executive is too limited in its thinking because they are not looking at alternatives. For a start, can’t they hire some experts who will be paid a certain percentage of the business they bring?” he asked.
Kalilombe also said it was unfortunate that the Sulom president is failing to implement what he promised in his manifesto.
“This is like duping your voters and it is clear that it is not always that officials stick to what they promised once they are in office.” n