Top-flight league clubs have expressed concern with Super League of Malawi’s (Sulom) failure to effectively use Chilomoni Stadium in Blantyre.
The clubs raised the concern during Sulom’s annual general meeting held on Saturday in Blantyre after noting that the facility is idle at a time teams are struggling for match venues and income-generating facilities.
The clubs argued that after Football Association of Malawi (FAM) leased the stadium to Sulom in 2019, the facility could, by now, have been refurbished to benefit both Sulom and the clubs.
Said Nyasa Big Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga: “Sulom represent us the clubs and the stadium was given to the league for the clubs to benefit. However, it is surprising that three years later, the facility remains idle yet we have a venue challenge in Blantyre and we struggle to generate meaningful income.”
Mighty Tigers technical director Robin Alufandika agreed with Chigoga’s sentiment and urged Sulom to seek corporate support on renovating the facility.
The clubs wanted to benefit from the facility after Sulom president Tiya Somba Banda announced two years ago that they would significantly reduce ground levy to enable clubs take home more from gate revenue.
At that time, he said Sulom would not be getting the standard 25 percent gate levy from the facility, but he could not indicate the exact take-home percentage to be offered to the teams.
At other venues, clubs get 25 percent each from gate revenue net, the same as ground owners. Sulom and FAM each get 10 percent while the Malawi National Council of Sports takes five percent.
Chilomoni Stadium, which currently houses Sulom secretariat and has FAM as the principal owner, was also earmarked for other income-generating initiatives such as hosting weddings and having a bar and restaurant.
In response to the clubs’ queries, Somba Banda yesterday said they are aware of the importance of rehabilitating the facility, formerly known as MDC Stadium, but said that will only be done once they secure funds.
He said they planned to have the renovations last year, but that did not materialise because all FAM project funds were diverted towards Covid-19 relief for players and the league’s resumption.
The Sulom president said in the meantime, they have sub-leased Chilomoni Stadium to Mighty Wanderers effective May 1 this year.
“Wanderers will be using the stadium for their training sessions until the facility is rehabilitated and passes the assessment test for league matches,” he said.