By Peter Forte
The circus surrounding Broadcasting TV rights took a new twist yesterday after Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) obtained a court order restraining Football Association of Malawi (Fam) from continuing with awarding of contracts.
The order stops Fam from awarding contracts to Mibawa Studios as content producer and Zuku Television as the live football broadcaster in the country.
“Pending determination of the substantive matter, the defendant BE and is HEREBY restrained whether by itself, its servants, agents or assignees or through whomsoever from allowing Mibawa Television or any other company, firm or person(s) to be the Pay TV Football Host/Content Producer through Zuku TV and/or any other media platform,” part of the court order reads.
MBC Director General George Kasakula said they did not wish to disrupt Malawians from watching football in the country but justice must be followed.
“We don’t intend to take football away from people but rather give them a wider coverage on television and us, as a national broadcaster, who also did a bidding in the production of live football coverage, reportedly did well. Surprisingly, Fam decided to award the contract to another company. We are not happy, we would like the courts to do their job,” Kasakula said.
Fam Commercial Director Limbani Matola did not pick up his phone despite numerous efforts.
But the association released a statement, saying it was unable to televise yesterday’s and today’s Airtel Top 8 Cup games due to the court injunction.
“Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) has obtained an injunction restricting our content producer, Mibawa Studios from producing any football matches and our host content broadcaster.
“We are working hard to make sure that we resolve this as soon as possible,” reads part of the statement.
Zuku TV Country Director Elias Dziko could also not be reached for a comment.
However, Mibawa Television Chief Executive Officer John Nthakomwa said he was saddened by the development.
“My first reaction is that this is a sad development that Malawi has chosen to continue going backwards. This was an opportunity for teams and Fam and Sulom [Super League of Malawi] to start making some money out of the game.
“My team (staff) was already in Dwangwa ready to beam the game but we did not proceed because of the court order,” Nthakomwa said.
Kasakula challenged that MBC had the capacity to produce and televise football games live despite the busy schedule.
“We are in the process of opening a second television channel which gives us a better and viable position to beam football matches,” he said.
Lawyer David Kanyenda of Makiyi and Kanyenda Associates is representing MBC.