Clubs cry foul over Airtel Top 8 final gate revenue

The Airtel Top 8 final between Silver Strikers and Karonga United at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe raked in K15.8 million, but the two clubs feel the revenue could have been much better with tight gate management.

However, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has expressed satisfaction with the revenue from the match which Silver won 1-0 to secure their second Airtel Top 8 trophy in three seasons.

Karonga general secretary Ramzy Simwaka dismissed FAM, saying that if the game was played at a different venue, it could have generated more.

Silver officials celebrate with their fans after beating
Karonga United 1-0 in the final

“Lilongwe people don’t like watching football if it was in Blantyre or Mzuzu we could have hit more than that amount. Besides, the gate management system was too weak. We could see people entering for free,” he said.

Silver general secretary Lawrence Yobe concurred with Karonga on poor gate management.

“There were reports of spectators accessing the stadium without tickets. This was also brought to our attention,” he said.

Yobe further said that it was displeasing that the final raised K15.8 million which he blamed largely on poor tournament format in which top teams are not seeded.

“This is far too low revenue for a cup final of this magnitude.  If we benchmark it against the 2017 finals [between Silver and Wanderers] which grossed K52 million, this is surely a big flop,” he said.

The GS said seeding the top teams “ensures that big teams with massive support don’t crash out in the preliminary round”.

In an interview yesterday, FAM marketing and commercial director Limbani Matola said from the collected figure, K3.9 million covered general expenses that included security, paramedics and tickets printing.

He said clubs and the BNS got the lion’s share, having jointly received a 75 percent cut.

“Each got 25 percent which translated into K2.9 million. FAM received K2.3 million, a 20 percent share while the Malawi National Council of Sports got a five percent share of around K597 000,” he said.

Matola said they were satisfied with the amount of revenue collected, considering that the final did not involve crowd pullers.

He disclosed that they feared low turnout and the organising committee at one point considered scheduling the match at a smaller venue. “It is pleasing that the decision to maintain BNS as the venue has not backfired at all,” he said.

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