Some TNM Super League clubs have faulted Football Association of Malawi (FAM) for “repeating their mistake” of inviting bids for broadcasting rights before consulting main stakeholders.
For the 2018 season, FAM, in collaboration with its affiliate, the Super League of Malawi (Sulom), has invited broadcast media and marketing agencies to submit bids for live or delayed broadcast of local and international football matches on television (TV) and radio.
The categories include international matches involving the national team and local clubs, TNM Super League, FAM Charity Shield, Airtel Top 8, Carlsberg Cup, Fisd Challenge Cup and Malawi annual football awards.
Be Forward Wanderers general secretary (GS) Mike Butao yesterday said they expected FAM to first consult them before calling for bids.
“Actually, we expected FAM to meet with the clubs, Sulom, regional associations and other stakeholders before engaging the media,” he said.
“This is duplicating the problems faced in the previous deal where main stakeholders were ignored and only consulted when the deal faced serious hitches. These things need consultation and transparency. All stakeholders need to own this deal.”
Silver Strikers general secretary Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda fears that similar mistakes would be repeated in the impending deal.
“The first thing that FAM and Sulom should have done before inviting media houses to submit their expression of interests in the next deal was to consult us so we could give our input first. The same mistakes will be repeated and that is not the best way to go,” he said.
Nyirenda added that FAM needed to do a thorough research on how such broadcasting rights are handled in countries such as South Africa, England and Spain before discussing with the clubs how they can fit into the country’s football system.
Despite that, Azam Tigers chairperson Sydney Chikoti said there is still room for FAM to make the bidding process more transparent than in the previous deal where the clubs were engaged after the contract had already been signed.
“Since the invitation for bids has already been floated, I believe it would be better FAM engages us at the point of evaluating the bids. We need to know the terms of reference and appreciate what the broadcasters would be offering to see if they would benefit football and the clubs, in particular,” he said.
The current televison (TV) broadcasting rights holders Beta TV are yet to pay the clubs their dues for the 2017 season.
As per their contractual agreement, Beta were supposed to give Super League clubs 80 percent of the K266 million TV rights revenue, translating to K212 million, after beaming matches of the 2017 season. The issue is currently in court.
Sulom and clubs also complained that most radio stations did not fulfil their obligations for some local matches.
The latest bid demands that the media house/ marketing agency provide key deliverables such as capacity and competencies to professionally produce and broadcast or distribute high quality full time football audio visuals for television and audio for radio.
“The broadcaster also needs to have capacity to professionally produce matches from designated stadia in the major cities and townships of the country,” reads part of a comminique from FAM
FAM commercial and marketing director Limbani Matola said: “There should be no worries on the latest bid because on deliverables, we have emphasised the need for all the stakeholders, mainly the teams, to be paid their share. Media houses must fully appreciate that the broadcasting revenue belong to the teams and must, therefore be serviced timely.”