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Mdina to withdraw chess sponsorship

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The chess fraternity has suffered a Christmas blow following Mdina

Business Solutions’ announcement that it would withdraw its sponsorship of Malawi Open Championship.

In an exclusive interview, South Africa-based Malawian entrepreneur, Tiwone Mdina, said he had given Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) a two-year notice to find another sponsor.

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Mdina termed his withdrawal of the sponsorship as a ‘temporally break’.

Mdina also revealed that some individuals misused money for a championship and winners received their cash prizes some days after the competition.

“Yet this happened when I had already given them [the organisers of the chess championship] a sponsorship package for that particular event,” he said.

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Reliable sources said Mdina was fed up supporting some individual chess players who demand money from him.

“Some players have been pestering him. They demand money annually, and when he rejects them some attack him on the social media. Apparently, he has just discovered that he was spending more money on players at the expense of his championship,” the source said.

Mdina was also criticised for travelling to Las Vegas, the United States to watch a fight between Floyd Mayweather and Connor McGregor when Malawi was staging his chess championship.

Mdina could neither agree nor deny the sources’ comments but said the ‘Mdina brand had saturated and was no longer appreciated.’

“Indeed, after the next two editions, we are going to break for a while.

“Basically, it is a brand saturation whereby we have seen a lot of sign that the brand is no longer appreciated because it has saturated.

“In the last three years, we have spent money beyond our budget because of such activities. This was not the case in the early years of Mdina because most of the guys were disciplined. They appreciated the sponsorship and understood that we were basically sponsoring for the love of the game and not that we were rich,” he said.

Chessam Publicity Secretary, Mankhosi Nyirenda, said Mdina was yet to communicate to the association about the withdrawal.

“This is a shock to us. This is coming when the sponsor has started advertising next year’s events on some billboards,” he said, adding that they would engage Mdina over his decision.

Chess player, Gerald Mphungu, said there was need for the association to discuss the issue with the sponsor so as to find a solution. Mdina started sponsoring chess in 2008.

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