The High Court of Malawi has given parties to the football television broadcasting rights dispute seven days to discuss and find the wayforward.
Presiding High Court Judge Dingiswayo Madise made the decision in Blantyre yesterday when Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and Football Association of Malawi (FAM) appeared before him virtually.
In interviews after the inter-partes hearing yesterday, the two parties’ lawyers David Kanyenda for MBC and FAM’s Patrick Mpaka confirmed that the matter has been adjourned for seven days for mediation.
The lawyers said should the two parties fail to resolve the issue, a fresh date for the hearing of the case would be set.
The hearing was expected to be done in the morning, but was shifted to the afternoon.
In the case, MBC is crying foul over FAM’s decision to opt for Mibawa Television (TV) as content producers of football matches for live broadcast on Zuku TV despite the State broadcaster purportedly coming out first in the bidding process.
When asked to comment on the adjournment, Kanyenda said MBC is open and responsive to a fair negotiated settlement that encompasses the broad interests of all the parties involved.
“At the barest minimum, MBC would like to be restored to a position, where it can beam games by acquiring broadcasting rights as was the case with the opening [Airtel Top 8] game [between Nyasa Big Bullets and Mafco FC], pending determination of the matter or pending conclusion of the negotiations,” he said.
But FAM lawyer Mpaka could not be drawn to comment on the latest development as he only confirmed the adjournment.
Mibawa’s lawyer Davis Njobvu said they welcome the adjournment, as the development means his clients will proceed to broadcast live this weekend’s Airtel Top 8 quarter-final second-leg matches between Karonga United and Civo Sporting tomorrow and TN Stars versus Silver Strikers on Sunday.
FAM commercial and marketing director Limbani Matola told The Nation last week that the association was relieved that the court set aside an injunction obtained by MBC.
MBC obtained the injunction through their lawyers Makiyi, Kanyenda & Associates to stop Mibawa Studios or any company from being content producers for Mpira Television, saying they were not convinced with the tendering process.
MBC director general George Kasakula obtained the injunction barely a week after FAM unveiled the Mpira TV production and broadcasting deal worth K350 million per year with Mibawa Studios and Zuku Television.
But the court order, which Judge Madise issued then, allowed Mibawa Studios to broadcast live football matches until inter partes hearing of the matter yesterday.