Football analysts have warned that the Anti-Corruption Bureau’s (ACB) probe into bribery allegations in Central Region Football Association (CRFA) electoral process is a dent on Malawi football administration.
The graft-busting body on Wednesday issued a restraint order on CRFA and Football Association of Malawi (FAM) from proceeding with the elections following allegations of bribes in the nomination process.
Soccer analyst David Kanyenda said in an interview yesterday, ACB’s probe into FAM and its affiliates will likely raise the attention of Fifa’s Ethics and Integrity committee.
He said: “As well as dragging the entire management of the game into public scandal, this incident may also cause corporate sponsors’ flight leaving stakeholders in the lurch of financial hardship.
“At worst, the dramatic episode may attract attention from Fifa’s Ethics and Integrity Committee that may place the game into administration through appointment of a Normalisation Committee to replace the current FAM ex co, pending conclusion of criminal investigation/prosecution.”
Kanyenda, who is also a private practice lawyer, said FAM’s failure to address electoral disputes which have dogged its affiliates was the genesis of the problems the association finds itself in.
He said: “FAM, the body responsible for running local football, has been dogged by a spate of accusations regarding corrupt practices particularly during the conduct of elections. The ACB restriction notice comes as no real surprise to domestic football followers given the rising frequency of complaints pertaining to alleged electoral irregularities.”
Kanyenda observed that the mother body’s procrastination in the matter is a result of the power struggle over control of the regional associations.
“At the heart of the matter is in fact, a bitter power struggle to influence the composition of the affiliate bodies that in turn, constitute an electoral college for the FAM Executive Committee,” he said.
Each region contributes six delegates to the FAM AGM and combined, form half of the 36 electors.
Om his part, soccer analyst George Chiusiwa said the bribery probe is a relief for football fans following repeated accusations during elections.
He said: “The investigations, will help the football fraternity start conversations around reforms. For spectators like us who have complained about maladministration in the country’s game can now smile.”
Former Mzuni FC (now Mzuzu Warriors) general secretary Khumbo Kumwenda called for swift conclusion of the investigations.
He said: “I would want this football case concluded. We hear a lot and it’s my hope we will get to know the truth. So much was said about the CRFA nominations, typical of stories that surface each time we have elections in football committees.”
FAM is yet to issue a statement after confirming receipt of the ACB order.