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Ticket drama

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As poor gate revenue during local and international matches continues to haunt the nation, disturbing information has emerged after two suspected counterfeit ticket dealers were arrested before being released following Football Association of Malawi (Fam’s) intervention.

The incident happened on Sunday when the Flames beat Tanzania’s Taifa Stars 1-0 at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre in a 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier.

The Malawi national football team was eventually eliminated from the competition on 2-1 goal aggregate.

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Southern Region Police deputy spokesperson, Wisdon Nhlane, refused to disclose the identities of the two individuals.

“Of course we arrested them on suspicion that they were selling counterfeit tickets. They were also found near the Shopping Mall which raised further suspicion. According to the agreement, recognised dealers know where to do their trade,” he said.

Nhlane also said the two were released after Football Association of Malawi (Fam) officials intervened on the matter.

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“Fam officials came and asked for their release. They said the tickets were not counterfeits. So even though they were found selling tickets in a prohibited area, we released them,” he said.

Fam general secretary, Suzgo Nyirenda, said the two were legitimate dealers and were not selling counterfeit tickets.

“It was an unfortunate incident which happened because of communication breakdown. We normally have agents that sale tickets on our behalf. On this particular day, the agent felt that he had a lot of stock with him so he left his designated place and started selling at the Shopping Mall. When we verified we discovered that the tickets were not counterfeits and we asked for their release,” he said.

The Flames game grossed about K7 million due to poor patronage.

The incident comes hot on heels of gate-fraud reports that marred the Blantyre derby between Big Bullets and Be Forwards Wanderers match after grossing K16 million.

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