Some Super League teams have asked the government to consider offering monetary support in the wake of Coronavirus which has also grounded all sporting events.
Most Super League teams rely on gate revenue to maintain their squads and with the season suspended as part of steps to overcome Coronavirus pandemic, the clubs do not have alternative means of revenue.
This has forced the teams to call for the government’s intervention to address the issue as they need to pay the players and other officials.
Be Forward Wanderers General Secretary Victor Maunde said they were heavily affected despite having sound sponsorship.
“We are already two months into the second year of our three year sponsorship but we haven’t yet kicked football. This means we will end up using money which we did not budget for as dates for the kickoff of the league are still unknown. This is pathetic as we can’t make a proper budget. We are calling on the government to step in and give us a certain package to keep the players. The players have families and need money for their upkeep,” he said.
Another Super League outfit Savenda Chitipa United have released some players to return home as they were struggling to maintain them.
The club’s Vice Secretary Marshall Mwenyechanya said future of the club was now hanging in limbo.
“We survive through individual contributions from some well-wishers in Chitipa district. Other supporters also help the club after selling pumpkins and maize. But that is not happening anymore. The going is getting tough with this Coronavirus attack. Nothing is working here we need the government to help us sustain the teams as no revenue is being generated. It is not a lie that most Super League teams rely on gate revenue but we have no option because football just like any other sporting activity has been suspended,” he said.
His counterpart Ntopwa Technical Director Isaac ‘Jomo’ Osman shared similar sentiments.
“We have done our part but it is now impossible to stretch ourselves further. Players are demanding their salaries but we don’t have money, where are we going to get it from? At least if the season was in progress we could have used gate collections to pay them. May the government come to our rescue by giving us subvention to pay the players,” he said.
However, Civil Service United General Secretary Ronald Chiwaula whose team is bankrolled by the government, sympathised with self-sponsored teams.
“It is not easy for these teams because they sorely rely on gate collections. Now that football is suspended, no team is able to raise any income they are in a very awkward situation to survive,” he said.
Football and other sporting activities are going through a dry spell after State President Peter Mutharika declared Malawi as a state of national disaster.
Following the declaration, public gathering was restricted to less than 100 people. The same declaration also forced local sporting bodies including Football Association of Malawi (Fam) and Super League of Malawi (Sulom) to postpone the kick-off of the season which was due to start on March 21.
In an attempt to scale down the problem Sulom engaged Fam to release K1 million Club Licensing surety which the clubs paid. The amount is to be released upon request as clubs are still searching for solutions to pay their players.
Peter Fote is a Sports Journalist with huge experience in radio and Television reporting, production and presentation. He once worked with Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and is currently working for Times Media Group.