Pulls out regional football leagues’ sponsorship
It’s over. The sky has fallen on regional football leagues following withdrawal of sponsorship by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) president Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika.
Mutharika’s personal assistant Ben Phiri disclosed the development yesterday attributing the development to government’s move to block Mutharika from accessing his finances.
Phiri also blamed political interference as the other reason for the move.
Mutharika was sponsoring the Southern Region Football League (SRFL) to the tune of K5 million per season and there was one more season left in the three-year contract.
He was also bankrolling all the three regional women’s football leagues amounting to K18 million (K6 million each league).
Said Phiri: “It is no secret that the professor is having difficulties accessing his finances because they have been blocked by government and, therefore, it is becoming increasingly difficult to fulfill our obligations.
“Secondly, there is too much political interference and you are aware of the incident that occurred last year when football authorities were taken to task for allowing the professor to preside over the women’s prize presentation ceremony at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe in the company of DPP women.
“So, in short, the envioroment has not been conducive to enable us to continue with the sponsorship,” said Phiri.
However, Mutharika said they would review the decision if the situation improved.
“We are monitoring the situation and if things improve, then we might reconsider our position, but for now we cannot continue.”
However, SRFL chairperson Trouble Kalua and National Women Football Committee (NWFC) head Severia Chalira expressed ignorance about the development.
Said Kalua: “Actually, I have been trying to get hold of the sponsor to provide us with funding for the league’s administration, but all my efforts have been futile.
“You may recall that the sponsor did not show up for last season’s prize presentation ceremony and miniatures for individual awardees were not provided, but there has been no official communication regarding the actual sponsorship.”
Chalira also said her committee is yet to be briefed on the development.
“It is news to me because the sponsor has not communicated anything to that effect.
“Actually I have just sent activity and financial reports for last season and we are yet to get a response on the way forward,”said Chalira.
She also described development as a big blow. n