Flagship public broadcaster, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) has dragged Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and the whole executive to court for contempt.
This follows FAM’s obstruction of MBC TV to beam live the Airtel Top 8 semi-final game between Silver Strikers Football Club and Civil Sporting Football Club at Bingu National Stadium.
According to court documents, which Nyasa Times has seen, it is alleged that FAM employees Jossam Namwera and Tulipo Mwenelupembe denied MBC access into the stadium with intent to beam live the match citing strict instructions from above.
Those on the list include FAM President Walter Nyamilandu, High Court Judge Jabbar Alide, Othaniel Hara, Tiya Somba Banda, Felicitous Dossi, Madalitso kuyera, Chimango Munthali, Rashid Ntelera, Sugzo Ngwira, Mohamed Selemani, Alfred Gunda, Limbani Matola, Christopher Ndolo, Gomezgani Zakazaka, Mwenelupembe and Namwera.
According to a sworn statement by MBC Director of Administration & Corporate Secretary, Gift Nyambalo, FAM Commercial and Marketing Director, Limbani Matola still maintained their stand to ban the public broadcaster’s right to beam live the match despite being reminded of the existing court’s order awarding the complainant such rights.
“I phoned Mr. Matola and he maintained that FAM would not let MBC beam the game on television. Mr. Matola stated that he wanted to be furnished with evidence that MBC had acquired broadcasting rights.
“Mr. Matola knew fully well that on two separate occasions MBC had written FAM regarding the same issue. Further, Mr. Matola knew that the response of FAM authored by himself had been evasive and failed to facilitate the acquisition of the rights and/or compliance with the court order.
“Although I explained to Mr. Matola that a further limb of the variation order of 7th December 2021 allowed MBC to beam the games irrespective of the acquisition of the broadcasting rights, he remained adamant that FAM would not allow MBC to beam the game,” read part of the statement.
The application will be heard before High Court Judge Dr Michael Ntambo on Monday, December 20, 2021.
Earlier this year, FAM) declared both Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and Mibawa Studios successful bidders as host/content producers for Mpira Television.
FAM informed the two broadcasters on March 10.
However, FAM only awarded Mibawa Studios the deal, prompting the public broadcaster to seek a court injunction stopping the association from awarding to Mibawa Studios host content producer contract.
Nyasa Times understands that the disagreements for the three parties are on where the final control centre (FCC) should be, sharing of revenue and allocation of which matches MBC and Mibawa would produce.
The letter which FAM sent to MBC reads in part: “Reference is made to your submission of expression of Interest to host football content producer as advertised by FAM.
“Following the technical evaluation of your submission by FAM’s independent technical consultants and management meetings that followed.
“I write to notify you that your expression of interest for host content producers for FAM’s Pay TV Channel was successful.”
The letter further informed MBC that the hosts content production role will be shared by two entities.
FAM further wrote MBC on March 30 detailing the terms of engagement in which with the State broadcaster’s role was spelt out.
The letter revealed that the other content producer was Mibawa Studios and also explains how the two entities will share football production role.
Mibawa was assigned to produce matches in the Southern Region while MBC was assigned the Central and Northern regions.
FAM also explained that Mibawa will host the final control centre at its Blantyre studios.
On revenue sharing, FAM stated that content producers would not be paid any amount and that instead, both Mibawa and MBC would be direct beneficiaries of all revenue generated from Mpira TV channel.
The revenue was to be shared proportionally with other stakeholders—five percent to host broadcaster, 35 percent shared 50/50 to each host content producer (MBC and Mibawa) or else sharing based on how much each had contributed.
The 60 precent balance was to be shared by football stakeholders with FAM and Super League of Malawi getting 10 percent each while clubs would share 80 percent.
However, MBC in its letter signed by the then acting director general Aidan Gumeni dated May 6 to FAM protested the introduction of Mibawa in the project.
It also protested the arrangement of Mibawa hosting the final control centre and producing matches in the Southern Region only.
When FAM and MBC failed to reach a compromise, the association went on to engage Mibawa as content producers and unveiled them two weeks ago, prompting MBC to obtain the injunction.
The High Court of Malawi varied the injunction a week later allowing Mibawa Studios to be the pay TV host/content producer through Zuku TV pending further discussions.
High Court judge Dingiswayo Madise gave the parties to the television broadcasting rights dispute seven days to discuss and find a way forward.
The circus surrounding Broadcasting TV rights took a new twist when MBC obtained a court order restraining FAM from continuing with awarding of contracts.
The order stops Fam from awarding contracts to Mibawa Studios as content producer and Zuku Television as the live football broadcaster in the country.
MBC Director General George Kasakula said they did not wish to disrupt Malawians from watching football in the country but justice must be followed.
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