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Fam for television option in the face of empty stadiums

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Walter Nyamilandu

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) is exploring the possibility of beaming local games on television once the government lifts the sports suspension.

This comes in the wake of suggestions that the 2020 season could be played in empty stadiums in line with Covid-19 prevention measures.

Playing games without spectators would disadvantage teams in terms of gate revenue which is their major source of revenue.

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Fam is pushing for kickoff of the new season after submitting a roadmap on football resumption to the Ministry of Sports.

However, such hopes could be dashed with the recent rise in numbers of people contracting the global pandemic.

Fam president, Walter Nyamilandu, said they were in talks with television stations on the possibility of beaming TNM Super League games once the government approves commencement of the game.

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Nyamilandu, who is also a Fifa Council member, said there was need to look for ways of helping teams to generate revenue should games be played without spectators.

“Commencing the season without supporters in our stadiums would help a lot of people to prevent the risk of contracting Covid-19. We are at an advanced stage with our partners to beam these games live so that fans can be entertained while at home.

“Considering the fact that most television stations in the country are on free-to-air service, we believe devising pay TV decoders would help the stations make profits from beaming local football. This would be a win-win situation because we know that most television stations in the country do not make profits,” he said.

Nyamilandu declined to name the stations involved in the deliberations, saying he would do so at an appropriate time.

Be Forward Wanderers Supporters Committee Chairperson, Mervin Nkunika, welcomed the initiative, saying it would contribute to the fight against Covid-19.

“As supporters, we are ready to support this initiative. This is a welcome development. It will also help us prevent the risk of contracting Covid-19,” Nkunika said.

It is yet to be seen if the initiative would bear fruit as attempts to have TNM Super League games beamed live on television failed in the 2016/17 season.

At that time, Fam and Super League of Malawi had awarded the rights to Beta TV at the expense of well established stations such as Times.

Malawi football is trying to follow in the footsteps of other countries that resumed their seasons over the past one month with teams playing in empty stadiums.

Kickoff of the 2020 season was halted on March 20 as the government declared a state of national disaster in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus.

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