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The Mozambican Football League (LMF) announced on Friday that it was suspending the national championship Moçambola indefinitely after the sixth round because it does not have the money to pay for teams’ air transport.
The sixth round of the Moçambola took place this weekend.
“Mozambican Airlines (LAM) have expressed their unwillingness to continue to transport the teams without payment and we therefore have to suspend the championship,” LMF President Ananias Couana explained at a press conference in Maputo.
Mozambique is a large country, with provincial capitals separated by more than a thousand kilometres and a weak road network, forcing the LMF to rely on air transport. LAM charges the LMF a total of 16,260 meticais (218 Euros) per person, O Jogo reports.
The football league owes LAM 77 million meticais (one million Euros), 44 million meticais (590,000 Euros) for last year and 33 million meticais (442,000 Euros) for 2018. Ananias Couana said that the LMF was seeking exemption from fuel tax, which corresponds to about half the cost of each ticket, but the government has not yet responded.
“With exemption from fuel tax, we would be able to keep the championship going,” said the league president said. The League used television broadcasting rights currently held by the ZAP company, to pay for air transport.
Ananias Couana explained that ZAP paid 50 percent of the cost, and it was agreed that the remainder would be paid later.
“Our partner [ZAP] has its cash plan, which does not allow it to make the payment at the moment. Therefore, while we negotiate with the government to exempt at least the fuel tax, we will have to interrupt the championship,” the league president concludes.
Noticias reports today that LMF and the 16 clubs participating in Moçambola will meet in Maputo this afternoon to identify solutions to be proposed to the government in order to ensure the continuity of the event.
The meeting follows on from one held last Saturday between the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Federation and the Mozambican Football League and sports personalities, at which the government directed the league to find financing solutions and declined to pay the 33 million meticais Mozambican Airlines fuel bill.
Noticias has learned from a reliable source that the LMF will suggest two possible scenarios. The first is to make voyages of less than 800 kilometres by land, and the second is that if, for example, a team travels from Nampula to Maputo, it should only return home after playing a minimum of two games – on Saturdays and Tuesday or Wednesday.
However, even in these scenarios, the money available in the LMF accounts still does not cover the needs of the event, so its partners will play a decisive role in the Moçambola going forward.
Alternatively, LMF management could again propose a less expensive model for Moçambola which has, however, been rejected by the clubs in the past, who argue that the current model is the most appropriate and competitive.Source: O Jogo / Notícias