A race against time.
Eleven teams have until close of business today to submit club licensing documents, failing which they risk not being registered for the forthcoming TNM Super League by the First Instance Body (FIB) as per Fifa requirement.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) club licensing system (CLS) manager Casper Jangale said by close of business yesterday, only five teams—Mzuzu University (Mzuni) FC, Dwangwa United, Nyasa Big Bullets, Be Forward Wanderers and Moyale Barracks—had submitted their documents to the association.
Those that had not yet submitted were Kamuzu Barracks, Epac, Silver Strikers, Blue Eagles, Masters Security, Mafco, Azam Tigers, PremierBet Wizards, Chitipa United, Blantyre United and Red Lions.
“Of course, we have an assurance from the remaining teams that they will be able to beat the deadline, but if they do not then they will not be eligible for vetting which will be done by the FIB,” said the FAM official who added that there will be no grace period.
He also said it is not automatic that those that have presented documents will be registered as they will have to go through a vetting process (by the FIB on March 11) that takes into consideration five CLS criteria.
The requirements are having a youth team and a clear developmental programme; infrastructure which requires that a club should have a training base and match venue; administrative personnel which incorporates player contracts and technical staff qualifications.
“This forms the bedrock because it also includes having a secretariat with at least one full-time employee [which could be an administrator or accountant or even both].
“Player contracts are mandatory and this year we have set CAF A licence minimum requirement for a technical director, CAF B licence for a head coach and CAF C licence for an assistant coach.”
The fourth criteria is financial and aims at promoting financial transparency, prudence and accountability.
“Clubs need to produce audited financial accounts and transact via banks,” said Jangale.
The fifth criteria incorporates ownership and control.
“This is where two big teams had problems last year and hopefully they have sorted that out this year. We were lenient in some areas last season because we were just starting, but this time clubs have no excuse,” he said.
Jangale said apart from risking expulsion, the punishment includes fines which range from K100 000 to K5 million.
He said the aim of club licensing is to professionalise the game and not witch-hunting as perceived by some quarters.
New kids on the block Chitipa United and returnees Blantyre United yesterday expressed optimism of beating the cut-off point.
Said United’s technical director Lawson Nakoma: “I was talking to Jangale this morning about the same issue and I have given him an assurance that we should get it over and done with by tomorrow [today]. Our administrator is busy running up and down to finalise everything.”
On his part, Chitipa general secretary Marshall Mwenechanya said: “Being our first time, we faced challenges such as match venue since we were not sure about the availability of Karonga Stadium. As a new team we also needed to beef up and we are in the process of finalising players’ contracts.”