Mutharika in dramatic U-turn

 has hinted on rescinding the decision to withdraw sponsorship: Mutharika (R) presenting a trophy to DD Sunshine captain Chisomo Kadzisonga (L) last season
has hinted on rescinding the decision to withdraw sponsorship: Mutharika (R) presenting a trophy to DD Sunshine captain Chisomo Kadzisonga (L) last season

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) president Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika has hinted on rescinding the decision to withdraw sponsorship of some regional football leagues.

However, Mutharika’s personal assistant Ben Phiri told The Nation yesterday that everything will depend on the outcome of the meetings with the leagues that they sponsor.

The development comes barely a few days after Mutharika, through his aide, announced sponsorship withdrawal of the leagues as a result of government’s move to block his finances. He also attributed it to political interference.

“We have assigned somebody to talk to them [leagues] and see if they can come up with a way of addressing the issue of political interference.

“We are hoping that the discussions should take place in the next few days and if we are happy with the outcome then we’ll carry on and probably give them the portion for administration on Monday. We wouldn’t want the league to be affected and that is why we sat down and reconsidered the issue,” said Phiri.

However, Phiri did not touch on the issue of his boss’ accounts blockage.

Southern Region Football League (SRFL), which is one of the leagues that Mutharika sponsors, said they were yet to be communicated on the latest development.

SRFL chairperson Trouble Kalua said: “They haven’t approached us, maybe later on.”

However, Kalua confirmed having been informed by the sponsor through his aide on the decision to discontinue sponsorship.

“A couple of months ago, I did receive an e-mail in which they stated that they might not be able to help us this season because the situation was tight due to the freezing of accounts.”

However, Kalua described the latest development as a relief.

“We need the sponsorship, if they are willing to continue helping us, then it will be good because we are not involved in politics, ours is about managing the game. [And] if they dump us, then it will be awkward because the league is already in progress and we are in the last year of the agreement,” he said.

However, on Wednesday, Kalua told The Nation that technically, Mutharika’s decision to pull out sponsorship construed breach of the three-year agreement they signed two years ago, “but it is a route we won’t pursue mindful of the two good years they helped us.”

Before the new development, Kalua also hinted that the search for a new sponsor would start immediately.

“The executive committee will sit down to map the way forward and the [current] season will continue whilst we look for alternatives,” said Kalua.

However, Phiri then said every contract has an exit clause.

“I do not think we would be in breach of the agreement because there was an exit clause,” said Phiri when he made the earlier announcement to pull out.

National Women Football League (NWFL) chairperson Severia Chalira also said they were yet to be contacted by the sponsor on the latest development.

Mutharika sponsored the SRFL to the tune of K5 million per season and the three women’s regional leagues at K6 million each.

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