By Mabvuto Kambuwe
The wrangle between Football Association of Malawi (Fam) and Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) took a new twist on Saturday when the association defied a court order by stopping the State-run broadcaster from broadcasting live the Airtel Top 8 Cup semifinal between Silver Strikers and Civil Service United.
Last week, the High Court granted MBC permission to beam the remaining Airtel Top 8 matches and all other football games.
However, there was drama at Bingu National Stadium (BNS) as the MBC crew was stopped from beaming the match involving Civil and Silver, which the Bankers won 2-0.
Fam officials claimed that the State-run broadcaster did not secure rights to beam the match.
MBC Director General George Kasakula said the State-run broadcaster would go back to court.
“The MBC crew was told to pack and go. This is very sad. Fam even hired bouncers, who prevented our crew from entering the stadium,” he said.
Kasakula said they would not relent but strive to broadcast live local matches.
“We would like to apologise to Malawians for what happened. We will continue to fight for the rights of Malawians so that they watch football,” he said.
At first, Makiyi and Kanyenda Associates, on behalf of MBC, obtained an injunction, restricting Mibawa Studios from producing content all football matches in the country.
MBC had challenged Fam’s decision to award a contract to Mibawa as content providers for Mpira TV and also the naming of Zuku Television as a sole broadcaster of domestic football.
However, the High Court set aside the injunction last month, which allowed Mibawa to continue producing for Zuku TV, specifically Airtel Top 8 Cup matches.
High Court Judge Masauko Msungama varied the injunction last week to allow MBC to beam the matches.
However, lawyer representing Fam, Patrick Mpaka, said the court would provide guidance.
“There are several legal issues involved. Let us wait for the court to give guidance,” Mpaka said.
Fam General Secretary Alfred Gunda said they did not harm anyone.
“We have not wronged anyone. We are the owners of broadcasting rights and we are doing it for commercial purposes. If anyone is interested in our products, they are free to come and discuss with us,” Gunda said
Lawyer David Kanyenda, representing MBC, said the matter would go back to court.
“Fam did not comply with the court order,” Kanyenda said.
Fam signed a new deal with Mibawa Studios and Zuku Television worth K350 million per year after a botched deal between the association and Malawi Broadcasting Network.