FDH Bank has terminated its partnership with Football Association of Malawi (FAM) which among others, included K90 million three-year Flames sponsorship.
The development comes following controversy over the missing of K4.7 million during Airtel Top 8 semi-final between Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers in which the bank was outsourced to sell tickets.
In a press statement issued yesterday, the bank has blamed FAM officials for the shortage, saying the bank’s cashiers were not given a chance to balance and reconcile because “stakeholders led by club representatives demanded both the cash and the tickets for them to reconcile”.
The statement reads in part: “It is, therefore, clear that FDH Bank cashiers were not responsible for whatever is claimed to have happened. Further to the above and to safeguard the integrity of the FDH Bank brand, the bank will no longer be involved with Football Association of Malawi [FAM] as a partner,” concludes the press release.
The press statement also blames unspecified football administrators for poor handling of football finances.
“As a bank we have learnt the hard way on how some football stakeholders want to run football finances affairs in the country. It is unorthodox when compared to other countries. On the material day, FDH Bank cashiers on duty were not given the time and space to balance and reconcile the tickets they were given and the cash they collected as it used to be done in the previous games, where the bank cashiers were allowed to balance and reconcile no shortages were reported.
“Under very intimidating and unsecure circumstances, the stakeholders led by club representatives, demanded both the cash and the tickets for them to reconcile.”
The bank says FAM officials fled the scene and left the cashiers to deal with the situation.
“It is our considered view that this was done deliberately to confuse the situation for their own benefit,” the statement further reads.
But in his response yesterday, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said the gate management issue was not related to the Flames’ K90 million sponsorship.
“It’s not clear. They need to clarify. Let’s not draw any conclusions on the sponsorship. The sponsorship contract is still valid and it has nothing to do with gate management,” he said.
The bank’s communication and marketing manager Levie Nkunika was not available to respond to FAM’s take on the Flames sponsorship.
But when unveiling the deal in 2016, both the bank and FAM referred to it as a partnership.
Soccer analyst Charles Nyirenda, who has been agitating for those responsible for the shortage to face the law, said the bank’s stand spells out the mess in gate management.
“We knew that a reputable institution like FDH Bank could not have been involved in this mess. Now it has been revealed how FAM officials and the club representatives deliberately destabilised a system which they themselves put in place and this led to the missing money. I think FAM is responsible of this mess,” he said.
FAM is yet to release its own findings on the incident.