Super League sponsors TNM have demanded accountability in management of gate revenue during the upcoming season while pressing for improved players’ welfare and infrastructure.
The 2016 season kicks off next Saturday with the launch scheduled to take place in Blantyre.
Speaking ahead of the kick-off after a three-month break, TNM public relations and sponsorship manager Limbani Nsapato demanded prudent management of the gate collections.
He said: “Gate management remains a challenge. There is more work to be done to ensure there is sanity on the gates and that revenue is properly accounted for and channelled towards improvement of player welfare.
This call comes amid allegations that some spectators bribe their way into the stadium.
The allegations have been solidified by Football Association of Malawi which has been pushing for electronic ticketing.
Nsapato further called for an improvement of football grounds. He singled out Blantyre, Mzuzu and Zomba.
Zomba Community ground has a rough pitch and its fence collapsed recently while Mzuzu stadium suffered the same fate a few weeks ago.
Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre had its capacity reduced by the Federation of International Football Associations (Fifa) due to fears that it might collapse.
“As a country we need to do more to improve football infrastructure especially in the cities of Blantyre, Zomba and Mzuzu.
Challenges with infrastructure stretch from the pitches to the terraces and sanitary facilities where fans can watch the beautiful game of football in comfort.”
TNM, which sponsors the league to the tune of K90 million, has also called on the league runners to ensure that the matches are watched by many.
“Elsewhere the development of a league is manifested through live beaming of local matches. As a sponsor, we desire to see the local league going beyond radio to television so that it begins to be enjoyed by a bigger audience beyond the stands,” Nsapato said.
Responding to the concerns, Super League of Malawi (Sulom) general secretary Williams Banda said efforts were being made to improve on the highlighted areas.
“On players welfare FAM has put in place a fund where part of the gate collections will be channelled. On infrastructure, the owners are doing their best to improve them with the support of the club licensing system. Television coverage is an area where we really need to exploit and we hope that deals will be struck to start beaming the matches live,” he said.
Despite the highlighted shortfalls, TNM has renewed its commitment to continue sponsoring the competition.
But Nsapato has ruled out increasing the sponsorship package: “TNM recently adjusted the sponsorship value of the league from K60 million per year to K90 million. This gesture came despite that the current sponsorship contract runs up to 2017 allowing us to still sponsor the league at a value of K60 million.
“You also take note that despite the contractual value of K90 million TNM spent K140 million to manage the 2015 season. This was largely due to rise in costs of football related equipment including match kits which are given to all the participating teams. TNM as a brand, we remain committed to the future of the biggest soccer league in Malawi.” n