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MBC hits Fam over broadcasting rights

George Kasakula

Walter Nyamilandu

National broadcaster Malawi Broadcasting Corporation has reacted angrily after Football Association of Malawi (Fam) and Super League of Malawi (Sulom) opted for Mibawa Television to be producing football content for live coverage on Zuku TV.

MBC Director General George Kasakula said they were shocked to have been overlooked when they came out first in bidding process.

“That decision is malicious, uncalled for and elitist because the idea is stopping Malawians from watching football, having invested their taxes for so long. Fam has become elitist… it is taking away football from Malawians by making sure that only a handful Malawians watch. During the bidding process MBC was number one so why should number two get our slot?” he said.

Kasakula said negotiations were on-going but Fam came up with some unrealistic demands.

“Some of the conditions they were putting were not realistic.

They were saying the one that came number two should be producing content in Blantyre whereas us who were number one we should be producing content for Mzuzu and Lilongwe. Surprisingly, when it came to revenue sharing they said we should be getting equal amount. We were even not entitled to the Final Control Centre (FCC),” he said.

Kasakula said they will challenge Fam’s stance.

“Going forward, we are consulting with all relevant stakeholders, including the government. But one thing I can say for sure is that we are going to challenge this because we feel it is injustice. We want Malawians to enjoy their own football. MBC will not sit by and watch Fam becoming elitist,” he said while hinting that they can take the issue to either Competitions and Fair Trade Commission or get an injunction.

Meanwhile, Sulom president Tiya Somba-Banda, speaking at Amaryllis Hotel in Blantyre yesterday, said the move will now help raise standards of the game in the country.

“Zuku says they will be able to generate over K300 million through 18,000 subscribers and this will not only benefit the teams but players as well who will have an opportunity to be marketed abroad. It will help the game to be more organised through a stable fixture,” he said.

Fam president Walter Nyamilandu said together with Sulom they had taken a serious route in football commercialisation.

“No more free football in the country and I want this message to be well understood that we are geared to correct the mistakes we made in the past. This is the reason we have engaged serious partners in Zuku TV and Mibawa Studios,” he said.

Zuku TV Country Director Elias Dziko said that channel will be able to raise up to K350 million in a year through the 18,000 subscribers.

“We believe we are now taking the game into a phenomenal step because we are in Uganda, Kenya and Zambia and people only have to pay K5,800 to watch the games on our channel number 064 which is Zuku smart,” he said.

Mibawa Television Chief Executive Officer Jonh Nthakomwa dismissed reports that they were hired based on favouritism.

“We have demonstrated over the past five years that we wanted to promote football in the country by only focusing on beaming of the games. This is the reason Fifa, Caf and Cosafa entrusted us to beam some of the home games for the Malawi national football team and the under 17 Cosafa men’s tournament in 2019,” he said.

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