Football Association of Malawi (Fam), Super League of Malawi (Sulom) and other stakeholders held a meeting last Saturday at Mpira Village in Blantyre aimed at reviewing and improving the ticket and gate management system at football matches for the 2016 season including all Flames’ assignments.
There were strong resolutions that were made which include that from this season, no payment from gate collections at football matches shall be made to any officials from Fam, Sulom or club supporters involved in the gate management.
And no supporters will be allowed to be involved in the supervising and monitoring of gate management but only team officials, who will be paid by their respective clubs.
Though some view some of the resolutions as too strong and that they should have been applied gradually, I say this has been long overdue and if we continue to be lenient, we shall never get anywhere.
We must be strong in our resolutions if we have to move forward. Unscrupulous people in football and in many sectors of our society have always taken advantage in any laxity of our systems for their personal benefits.
But what is wrong with being tough as having a head count for all personnel mandated to manage the gates, who will be issued with identity cards?
Why shouldn’t we eliminate cash handling at the gates and embarking on E-ticketing instead where reconciliation of tickets will be done soon after the match?
Isn’t it right that there should never be complimentary tickets and that no free tickets shall be issued?
In his campaign for the post of Sulom vice-president, Daud Suleman emphasised that Sulom should go for E-ticketing and that tickets must have security features.
He also touched on the issue of Sulom beefing up its secretariat in administration, accounting, marketing and security, which now the Saturday meeting resolved to now implement.
All these resolutions are long overdue and there is need to be tougher now for Malawi football to be commercially viable where it can attract more sponsors to the game.
We shouldn’t have companies coming to sponsor football in the guise of ‘corporate responsibility’ and they decide to pull out whenever they wish to do so. In the normal set up, the corporate world join the sports fraternity as a marketing drive.
They strive to remain at that helm for as long as they can afford to by shrugging off any competitor who might try to topple them by dangling more money than the incumbent main sponsor.
Whenever main sponsors who are enjoying the spotlight in football sees competitors are trying to outdo them by dangling more money, they too pump in more to enjoy the fruits of being on the limelight.
This all comes if the football system itself is marketable, accountable and glamorous. What Sulom and Fam are doing is to safeguard our football which can attract more fans to it.
A lot of people would rather sit at the bar and watch the English Premiership rather than go to our football venues because it lost its former glamour. Derbies were a must-watch not so long ago but it’s pathetic nowadays to see just a low attendance at a match between Mighty Wanderers and Big Bullets.
It’s time to change our mindset and like all systems, tough review measures always meet resistance. Fam and Sulom should brace up for such resistance and should stand firm.