Despite an increase in gate revenue fraud at football matches, there is still a long way to go for Malawi to embrace electronic ticketing (e-ticketing) which is regarded as the best option to eradicating the malpratice.
This comes after ground owners, including government, Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) and Football Association of Malawi (FAM) told Nation on Sunday during the week that there is still work to be done before implementing the system although they have been making such assurances for two years.
Government through the Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) promised to install the system at government-owned Bingu National Stadium (BNS), Civo Stadium and Kamuzu Stadium by September 2016 while RBM and FAM planned to do the same at their Silver Stadium and Chilomoni Stadium respectively, by last year.
MNCS executive secretary George Jana said they left the initiative in the hands of the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development since the council does not own any stadium.
The ministry’s spokesperson Christina Mkutumula on Saturday doing some ground work since taking over from MNCS.said they are in the process of
However, she could not tell when the project would start.
“We are doing some ground work as we are waiting for the availability of resources. But I cannot tell on the timeline of the project because we have just started the process after taking over from the Council. I should also emphasise that the BNS will be the priority in this project,” she said.
Before the ministry took over the e-ticketing responsibility, MNCS got quotations in 2016 from firms specialised in installation of the system such as South Africa’s TicketPro and Malawi-based MalCom. Then, the budget for the project was estimated at K300 million.
At Silver Stadium, RBM spokesperson Mbane Ngwira said they are finalising the evaluation of bids for e-ticketing contractors and they will soon identify the winner to complete the project. He said they expect the project to be complete sometime in 2019.
“This is really a bid project that requires the changing of the entire security structure of Silver Stadium, including the enhancing of the brick wall fence, installation of CCTV cameras and access control in the facility,” he said.
“We completed the enhancing of the brick wall but we are finalising the evaluation of bids so that, later this year, the winning contractor will start the other works. We hope to have the system in place by the start of next season,” he said.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said they hope to have the system in place next year but, for a start, they would engage key stakeholders including clubs and other ground owners to run the e-ticketing as a pilot project.
“We will run e-ticketing as a pilot project this season on a few selected matches before full scale roll-out next season. We are targeting all the Flames matches [African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against Morroco and Cameroon] and other local matches directly run by FAM,” he said.
Bullets chief executive officer Fleetwood Haiya said e-ticketing is the only way out of gate fraud and the delay to embrace the system would continue denying local clubs opportunity to survive financially, thereby wearing down the competitive nature of topflight football.
Just two months ago, FDH Bank ended their partnership with FAM regarding gate collection after K4.7 million grew wings during Airtel Top 8 semi-final between rivals Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers at the Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.