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Standard Bank withdraws cup sponsorship

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Stung by prevailing economic meltdown, Standard Bank Friday withdrew its K43 million football Knock-Out Cup sponsorship, ending an eight-year romance, thereby dealing a hammer blow to domestic football.

In a statement released Friday, the bank cited changes “in the macroeconomic environment and all the attendant business challenges,” as chief reason for the pull-out, which left Football Association of Malawi (Fam) understandably worried.

Fam general secretary, Suzgo Nyirenda, Friday confirmed that the bank broke the bad news during a meeting held on Wednesday in Lilongwe.

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“Obviously, it’s a blow as we have been relying on this sponsorship for a long time. We will respond through a statement,” Nyirenda.

Standard Bank’s exit leaves Carlsberg Malawi Limited and TNM as the only sponsors for top-flight club football, which is a direct feeder to national football teams.

With slightly over two months before the 2016 season, Fam is yet to publicise its calendar of events, hence there will certainly be anxiety in the football circles.

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Despite the pull-out, the bank said it was proud to have contributed to domestic football improvement, including in the senior national football team.

“We have been forced by these circumstances to become more introspective about how we think about continuing to build a sustainable business going into the future,” added the statement.

“As a consequence, we have had to take a closer look at our revenue structure and potential, as well as our cost structure, and we have unfortunately found ourselves needing to make some uncomfortable decisions.”

Civo United are holders of the cup after they defeated Be Forward Wanderers 1-0 through Nelson Kangunje’s late goal at Civo Stadium in October 2015.

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