Fixed charges proposal shot down

 

The government’s proposal to introduce fixed charges for hiring out Kamuzu Stadium met fierce resistance from stakeholders during a meeting on Thursday at the venue.

The stadium owners wanted the new system to replace the old one in which they were getting 25 percent from gate revenue.

But main stakeholders—clubs, Super League of Malawi (Sulom) and Football Association of Malawi (FAM), stewards and supporters’ representatives—demanded that government explain how the charges were determined.

Some stakeholders during the meeting

The stakeholders also argued that paying upfront is impractical when they rely on gate revenue which they assess after the match.

Nyasa Big Bullets chief executive officer Fleetwood Haiya said all the stakeholders had rejected the proposal.

“We presented our stand as a bloc because regardless of the differences in the hiring charges. We are all Super League clubs and in unity there is strength,” he said.

FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda, who also attended the meeting, has since asked government to maintain the current system and convene another meeting after further consultations.

He said the charges would seem to be practical in just a few matches involving big teams, but it would be unfair to small teams to pay K500 000 when their matches raise as little as K50 000 gate revenue.

He pleaded with government to reconsider its proposal.

Said Gunda: “We are looking at where we are coming from and considering what are the merits of the current set up. We are saying let’s maintain the current set up which accommodates all our stretches of football—whether a club is big or small.”

But the line ministry’s director of sports Jameson Ndalama said government proposed the fixed charges to raise funds for the newly-rehabilitated facility to remain in its present condition.

“Maintaining such a facility is not easy. Government spends a lot of money due to football vandalism and theft,” he said. “Stakeholders need to be responsible because this facility benefits them.”

But Gunda said it was possible to have shared maintenance cost without introducing fixed charges.

He said: “Of course there is always a cost for managing a facility, that is why we are saying the issue of shared responsibility should be looked into. But let’s maintain the current set up because if you compare the proposed charges and the revenue from games involving small teams, the gap is just too big. They can’t manage to pay the charges.”

Meanwhile, Ndalama said he would report the outcome of the meeting to his superiors at Capital Hill.

“The proposed charges are not yet into effect. They are not a law. But even if they were, we still need consultations with stakeholders. This meeting was aimed at doing exactly that.

“I will report the findings to my bosses and the ministry will make a final decision very soon.  The stadium has been closed for so long and we could not just reopen it before introducing some housekeeping rules,” he said.

In the new hiring guidelines which have been circulated to stakeholders, the stadium will be hired out at K4 million for a TNM Super League Blantyre derby involving Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers. International matches have been pegged at K5 million while international friendly matches are at K3 million.

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