Malawi’s football family has been hit with a severe blow following the announcement by opposiiton Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika that he has withdrawn the three year women’s and men’s football sponsorship deal.
Mutharika has for the past two years been sponsoring Men’s Sothern Region Football League (SRFL) and Women’s Football Leagues in all the three regions of the country.
SRFL was sponsored to the tune of K5 million annually under a three year contract which has ended with a year to go while the women’s football league was sponsored at K18 million with each region pocketing K6 million.
Mutharika’s Personal Assistant Ben Phiri confirmed the withdraw citing political interference as among the major causes.
He said the Mutharika is finding it had to access his finances because the current government is blocking him.
“It is no secret that the professor is having difficulties accessing his finances because they have been blocked by the government and therefore it is becoming increasingly difficult to fulfill our obligations,” said Phiri.
He also said a move which happened last year when soccer authorities were taken to book for attending Central Regions Women’s Football League prize presentation presided over by the sponsor himself is another reason for the withdraw.
“Secondly there is too much political interference and you are aware of incident that occurred last year when football authorities were taken to task for allowing Mutharika to preside over the women’s presentation ceremony at Civo stadium in Lilongwe in the company of DPP women,” he added.
He has therefore described the environment as not been “conducive” to enable the Mutharika continue with the sponsorship
But Phiri expressed hope that Mutharika might bounce back with the sponsorship if the situation improves.
“We are monitoring the situation and if things improve then we might reconsider our position,” he said.
Meanwhile, National Womens Football Committee and Southern Region Football League officials say they are yet to receive an official communication.
But an official from Central Region Football League confided in Nyasa Times that she “saw it coming”.
“Although we haven’t yet received official communication but it will not come as a surprise; we saw it coming. It’s a big blow to us but what else can we do” she said while speaking under a strict condition of anonymity.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :