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‘Free’ netball irks Sports Council

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Malawi National Council of Sports says it will soon summon Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) over their failure to permanently introduce gate charges for local and international games.

Sports Council board chairperson, James Chuma, said it was disheartening that Nam was failing to commercialise the sport.

Chuma made the remarks on Saturday when Kukoma Diamonds snatched the Presidential national netball trophy from rivals Tigresses after winning 41-36 at Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC) where games were for free.

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The finals attracted thousands of spectators who overcrowded the court to the extent that top officials at the Covered Stand failed to follow proceedings easily.

Chuma said Nam should understand that sport is a big industry that, elsewhere, generates money.

“Elsewhere, sport is a big industry. It employs a lot of people. There is need for Nam to put proper mechanisms to benefit from the sport. People are supposed to pay to watch such games. Money realised from the gates can be pumped back into the sport,” he said.

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Chuma said lack of proper facilities should not be an excuse as previously, Nam managed to effect gate fees during the Africa Netball Championship Malawi hosted in 2013 at the BYC and College of Medicine Sports Complex.

“What is stopping Nam from using the same facility to introduce gate charges during local games?” he quizzed.

“Why should a lot of people like that watch the game for free? Anyway, we want to meet them and brainstorm to curb this culture. The netball association needs to introduce gate fees gradually and reasonably to introduce this culture among locals,” he said.

Chuma said Sports Council was running sport business management courses to equip local administrators with skills to commercialise sporting activities, including netball.

Nam general secretary, Carol Bapu, said the tournament was a success and they will evaluate what must be done to permanently introduce gate fees.

Calls demanding the introduction of gate charges have been growing for years.

Last year a lot of spectators turned up to watch different competitions, including the Rainbow Paints Southern Region Netball League, GOtv Netball Champions League and Airtel Money national netball trophy but there was no gate charge.

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