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16m derby gross raises eyebrows

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A blame game has ensued among stakeholders after the country’s oldest derby involving TNM Super League defending champions, Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers, grossed a mere K16 million at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Each team pocketed K3 million from the second round match, yet with a similar impressive patronage, a first round game involving the giants grossed a record K26.8 million.

In view of this, Bullets and Wanderers officials, while insisting that it is difficult for them to turn down their cut, have demanded a thorough audit.

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Wanderers general secretary, Mike Butao, faulted the whole process, saying it had serious loopholes that undermined efforts by honest stakeholders.

“We would have accepted the figure if the match had grossed over K20 million. There was nothing like reconciliation of tickets and cash after the game. How do you just dump money and tickets at the pool before reconciling to the ones who assigned you?” Butao queried.

“In the first round as the home team, we did well and we showed the nation that with proper system we can raise a lot from the gates. We hired a credible organisation to man the gates. We also made sure to go through every step cautiously. This time, Sulom printed 20,000 tickets for the open stands. Chances are that some people might have used counterfeit tickets.”

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Joker Investments was hired to man the gates during Saturday’s game, whereas Fama was responsible for the gates during the first round match.

Bullets general secretary, Kelvin Moyo, said they were not satisfied with the gross.

“Of course, we can’t overcome gate fraud by 100 percent at once. However, we can limit it to over 80 percent. The crowd was similar to the one we had in the first round. So, if we had collected something over K20 million it could have made sense,” he said.

Moyo said it was difficult for the club to turn down its share because it was facing serious financial woes.

Super League of Malawi (Sulom) general secretary, Williams Banda, said they have demanded reports from stakeholders before making a determination.

“For instance, we have asked the Police to give us a report. We have also asked Kamuzu Stadium accountant, Stewards, Sulom representatives at the gates and Sports Council to submit reports,” Banda said.

“There are some questions that must be answered, including who manned the gates, was reconciliation of funds and revenue done at the venue and who selected the firm to man the gates?”

Bullets beat rivals 1-0 through a Jafalie Chande second half strike to maintain their unbeaten run in the league.

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