Fouling from behind: Carlsberg sponsorship

I will begin by saluting Carlsberg Malawi for unveiling the K50 million sponsorship package for the country’s biggest football clubs Big Bullets, Mighty Wanderers and the Carlsberg Cup competition.

This is the first time in the history of soccer in Malawi for a single company to sponsor two teams at one goal and introduce a cup competition.

For sure local football will never be the same with this landmark sponsorship package from Carlsberg Malawi.

This is not the first time for Carlsberg Malawi to be associated with local football. Previously, the company used to sponsor the Carlsberg Cup competition but pulled out unceremoniously after crowd violence occurred during a final match involving Wanderers and Bullets.

Carlsberg cheers for Bullets and Nomads

As a result of the pulling out by Carlsberg, Wanderers and Bullets did not get anything for their sweat. The teams were left helpless after spending a fortune, playing in the preliminary stages of the
competition through to the final. Many thought Football Association of Malawi (Fam) or the two clubs would take Carlsberg to task to honour its obligation but there was nothing of that sort.

That issue takes me to the present agreement signed by the beer brewing company and Fam/the clubs. In the terms of the agreement, Carlsberg has undertaken to continue with the cup and club
sponsorships so long as there is no violence.

The company, however, says it will dump one of the two clubs after a period and remain with the team that will perform better and demonstrate good behavior.

I have serious reservations with this type of arrangement. While both teams will strive to do well on the field of play, I foresee some elements of sabotage coming into play. In trying to put the other team at a disadvantage, supporters from either camp might decide to perpetrate violence during a game involving the other.

Apart from detesting the arrangement of choosing a better performing  and behaving team between the two, I do not know if the agreement has taken on board interests of the two clubs as well as all teams that will be competing in the cup competition to ensure there is no repeat of the previous scenario, when clubs got literally nothing after making it to the paid ranks let alone promoting the Carlsberg brand.

Supposing Carlsberg Malawi does not get satisfied with the conduct of the clubs or fans, I do not expect them to pull out the sponsorships in the middle of the season or a cup competition as it did last time.
The unceremonious manner in which the company pulled out the Carlsberg Cup sponsorship left many questions unanswered.

Others people viewed the violence issue as a mere scapegoat following some internal developments within the Carlsberg family.

Yes, violence of any form must not be tolerated but in contracts or agreements of this nature, one party is supposed to give the other a notice and before pulling out.

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