Balaka Stadium on Wednesday collected a record K12 million revenue in a mid-week TNM Super League fixture between hosts Dedza Dynamos and Nyasa Big Bullets in what stakeholders have described as a wake up call
Ironically, the revenue collected from the 3 000-seat capacity facility is equivalent to what was collected from the 20 000-capacity Kamuzu Stadium in the season opening Blantyre derby between Mighty Wanderers and Bullets last month.
Some TNM Super League clubs and league runners, Super League of Malawi (Sulom) have said the Balaka record confirms fears of gate revenue fraud at bigger facilities.
Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga, Mighty Wanderers board secretary Humphrey Mvula and Silver Strikers chief executive officer Thoko Chimbali yesterday said the latest development is a wake-up call for stadium owners to get serious with gate management.
Said Chigoga: “You actually feel ashamed to look at the difference in revenue in our game played mid-week against a newly-promoted side compared to a traditionally crowd-pulling match against rivals Wanderers at Kamuzu Stadium.
“This justifies our calls for increased efforts to combat fraud at Kamuzu Stadium where theft is unimaginable in every sense. The biggest problem, in my view, is that people involved collaborate with security to steal.”
He claimed things would be in order if security personnel exercisd integrity to do their job professionally, stadium seals all the areas where people use to enter for free and allow only those that legitimately pay to watch the games.
Mvula, on the other hand, said it will be difficult to root out gate fraud at the stadium because there is an old cartel of “a criminal enterprise” comprising football authorities, stadium management, supporters and security personnel that benefit from the loot.
“It is a properly coordinated criminal enterprise that deliberately frustrates efforts to deal with gate fraud because if that was not the case, the malaise could have woken up the stakeholders. What these people should know is that clubs and players are suffering due to their bad deeds,” he said.
Chimbali said it is worrisome to note that the clubs are able to make satisfactory revenue at small stadiums yet the same cannot be said about the big facilities.
Sulom treasurer Malinda Chinyama said it is a struggle to deal with gate revenue fraud at Kamuzu Stadium due to ticket control systems.
“In the absence of proper ticket and revenue monitoring systems at the stadium, we cannot seal the loop-holes. This is why we have planned to thoroughly discuss this issue at our imminent annual general meeting,” he said.
On why they fail to control the tickets and revenue at the stadium, Chinyama said it could be because they leave the responsibility of outsourcing in the hands of the clubs themselves.
“Initially, we were the ones that were handling the outsourcing at stadia, but we left that in the hands of the clubs as our officials were regularly being tormented or beaten by the fans. Of course, we work with them, but it is not easy,” he said.
Both stadiums were filled to capacity during the two matches with fans paying K2 000 in open stands and K5 000 in VIP terraces. Teams’ shares were K2.6 million each at Balaka Stadium and K2.2 million at Kamuzu Stadium.
Last season, the Blantyre Derby at Kamuzu Stadium grossed K3.1 million in the Super League first round and K4.9 million in the second stanza.
The biggest gate revenue in all competitions at the Kamuzu Stadium last season was K19.6 million gross realised during Airtel Top 8 finals between Bullets and Silver Strikers.