Limitation of term of office for a president, as directed by world football governing body Fifa, is among the contentious issues expected to be tabled at Football Association of Malawi’s (FAM) annual general meeting (AGM) today in Mangochi.
The other proposed amendments to be tabled at the football governing body’s general assembly are representation of Super League clubs, scrapping off of the Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) as a minimum requirement for executive membership and adding another slot for women in the executive committee.
FAM legal affairs committee chairperson Jabbar Alide on Thursday said: “From our perspective, our role was to draft proposed amendments which can come from Fifa, affiliates and the committee itself.
“One of the issues is the limitation of office for the president—which was initially open—to three terms. On the surface it is a straight-forward issue, but what could be contentious though is when it can be affected.
“Ordinarily, it cannot be applied restrospectively and, therefore, when amendment is effected, it can only be affective from next election, but this can bring controversy because of the current occupant [Walter Nyamilandu who has already served three terms],” he said.
However, a football analyst George Kaudza Masina yesterday said laws are not applied retrospectively “and, as such, if it is passed it should not affect the current occupant whether he seeks to have another term or not”.
On his part, Nyamilandu, who in the past twice declared not to contest only to change his tune later, insisted that he is done with FAM.
“This time it is for real, there is no turning back. I have other challenges and responsibilities at a higher level from where I can also best serve Malawi football. For those that are still in doubt, let them take my word. I am in injury time,” said the FAM president who was recently elected into Fifa Council, the highest football body in the world.
On the issue of scrapping off MSCE as minimum educational requirement, Alide said it was observed that it was prohibitive as there are some highly-qualified coaches and referees that do not have an MSCE, “but are able to contribute effectively towards the development of the game, why do we bar them? So, it might not be contentious depending on how one is looking at it”.
The proposed new statutes, instead, state that those vying for executive committee positions should have been active in football as an affiliate for five years.
But Kaudza Masina argued that it will be unfortunate if the proposed amendment will be approved by the general assembly.
“It is sad and unfortunate that we want to be moving backwards. If we are talking about commercialising football then we should not be moving in reverse. Football is a technical game,” he said.
Recently, Super League of Malawi (Sulom) treasurer Tiya Somba-Banda said he would prefer certain positions such as president, to have academic requirements.
“At the stage we are in, we are still developing our game and we have people without academic qualifications, but they contribute a lot towards the development of the game. What we need is proper balance in the FAM executive committee. I would prefer some positions to have academic threshold,” he said.
On Super League clubs’ representation, Alide said there have been concerns that the national league teams are not represented and a proposal of two slots to be filled by the champions and the runners-up, has been put forward.
However, Kaudza Masina and another analyst Humphrey Mvula said the move is not justifiable as the top-flight league teams are already represented by Sulom.
Said Kaudza Masina: “If we want to include clubs then what is Sulom there for…I thought they advance the interests of the teams who are their affiliates? Does it mean the same will apply to regional associations whereby the teams will also be sending representatives?”
On his part, Mvula said: “Super League teams are administered by Sulom who are an affiliate of FAM, so you cannot have an affiliate of Sulom sitting in the mother body. .”
But Nyasa Big Bullets chief executive officer Fleetwood Haiya and Be Forward Wanderers chairperson Gift Mkandawire said they support FAM’s proposal.
Said Haiya: “FAM is for football stakeholders and the major stakeholders are, indeed, the clubs; hence, having their representation would bring about equality, justice and help in the development of the game.”
While on his part, Mkandawire said: “It is a welcome development. However, personally I would prefer that the criteria of choosing representatives should be left to the clubs themselves.”
Sulom general secretary Williams Banda said he had not seen the agenda and, as such could not comment and instead, he referred the matter to Somba-Banda who said: “Let us wait till we cross the bridge.”
The ammedended statutes were supposed to be approved at last year’s AGM, but members asked for more time to consult.n