Thank you Mr Prime Minister for restoring e-tickets at stadiums

22Feb 2016
The Guardian
Thank you Mr Prime Minister for restoring e-tickets at stadiums

CONGRATULATIONS are due to the prime minister, Majaliwa Kassim Majaliwa, for issuing an urgent order for the restoration of an electronic ticketing system at soccer stadiums across the country.

The order is actually to a large extent quite overdue as the removal of the initial system had resulted in the massive pilferage of gate collection revenues during soccer matches played at the stadiums, both competitive (e.g. premiership league) and non-competitive.

This in turn naturally had a negative effect on government tax collection from the said revenues.

It is a poorly-hidden secret that the current leadership of the Tanzania Football Federation, in power since October 2013, has never embraced the idea of ensuring the efficient, hassle-free and safe collection of gate revenues at premier league and other local soccer matches.

TFF under its president Jamal Malinzi has instead apparently chosen to overlook and ignore the inconveniences caused by an archaic paper-ticketing system to football fans and government tax collectors alike.

Besides the ugly sight of lengthy queues of waiting fans outside stadium gates on match days (often under a blistering sun or in pouring rain), long hours were spent in the counting of money in bulk behind closed doors.

How trustworthy have been the people entrusted to handle the counting? How much were they ‘officially’ paid to do the deed? Those are questions that can only be properly answered by the TFF administration and the Premier League Board. Also, the security risks associated with physically transferring large bags of cash from stadiums to wherever the beneficiaries wanted them taken were not considered at all.

The real reasons for halting the original e-ticket system has never been disclosed by TFF, apart from some hazy references to ‘problems’ associated with the system which, in any case, were obviously never dealt with.

So with all things being equal, it is to be expected that the return of the e-ticket system will go a long way towards getting rid of a long chain of people who were ‘unofficially’ benefiting from stadium gate collection monies which they weren’t supposed to get and spend.

These include unauthorized middlemen who would resale paper tickets at hiked prices. Counterfeit tickets will be phased out as well. Soccer fans will be able to purchase tickets with comfortable ease anywhere, anytime - through their mobile phones, for instance.

After all, that’s what most local business entities have been doing for a long time - embracing the use of electronic money transfer systems to ease the way of doing business.
Officials of TFF and its league board cannot realistically claim to be unaware of the advantages and efficiency of an e-ticketing system.

We could even go so far as to say that the original decision to halt the system at local stadiums must have been based on rather personal interests, perhaps to fulfill the wishes of various individuals or groups of people who would benefit from counterfeit tickets and other pilferage alternatives during football matches.

It is a fact that under the paper-ticketing system, the total number of tickets sold at every match in every stadium has hardly ever tallied with the number of spectators attending the matches.

To take this trend of thought even further, it is very surprising that even the deputy minister responsible for sports in the fourth phase government, Juma Nkamia, advocated the halting of the previous stadium e-ticketing system without offering bold reasons.

In light of the latest directive from the prime minister, it remains unclear why even Nkamia allowed himself to be so easily carried away by this oversight.