The country’s most followed clubs Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers have, for nearly a year, failed to submit sensible ownership documentation as per club licencing system (CLS), and could face fines ranging from K100 000 to K5 million, the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has confirmed.
CLS, a brainchild of the Federation of International Football Federation (Fifa), is aimed at improving club football by setting minimum standards in key areas such as stadium safety, youth football development and financial accountability.
Another requirement, according to the CLS charter is that clubs “must adhere to international statutes; club ownership must be transparent and fair.”
In his assessment of the first year of the CLS implementation, club licencing system manager Casper Jangale said all the Super League clubs, except Wanderers and Bullets, have managed to spell out clearly and furnished FAM with documentation on the ownership requirement.
“Wanderers and Bullets have failed in that particular area. Up until now they have not provided us with relevant documents outlining the issue of ownership. All they have told us is that they belong to the community, but even in that set-up, they need to be clear by providing supporting papers,” he said.
Jangale said they expect the two clubs to resolve the ownership mystery by the time the 2017 season kicks off or risk facing punishment.
“Right now, we are negotiating with them on how to come up with the best solution to get out of this maze. We just hope that they will be committed otherwise, if they don’t show any commitment there will be fines imposed on them,” he said.
Jangale said lack of clear ownership enhances the chances of wrangles over finances and leadership in the clubs.
“If a club’s ownership is not clearly spelt out as the case with Bullets and Wanderers, you see that the supporters demand a share from the gate collections. You also hear that supporters have sacked the executive committee. This does not only bring instability, but may affect financial accountability which we want to promote through club licencing,” he said.
Wanderers’ vice-chairperson Gift Mkandawire admitted that they do not have documentation to explain who owns the club which he said belongs to the community.
“It is true that we don’t have legally recognised documents to show who owns the club. What we sent to FAM is the structure on how we operate,” he said.
Mkandawire said the club was planning to meet soon to discuss the matter following FAM’s query.
“We have received communication from FAM, asking us to clearly explain the club ownership. Through the meeting, we are hoping to find a solution to this issue,” he said.
Bullets chairperson Noel Lipipa also confirmed having been informed by FAM that their explanation on the club’s ownership leaves a lot to be desired.
“FAM representatives met us last month to explain their stand and we understood their argument. We are currently moving towards ensuring that we resolve the issue. We will hold an annual general meeting [AGM] next February where we will resolve this issue,” he said.
Bullets recently set up a taskforce to solve the ownership confusion. It included its former chairperson Malinda Chinyama and seasoned football administrator Charles Nyirenda.
Asked how far they have gone with their work, Lipipa said they have not yet finalised it.
“As you know, the key problem is that this club was registered as a company or a trustee by eight different groups. This is the main problem we have to solve first,” he said.
Barely two months ago, FAM fined Mafco and Premier Bet Wizards K100 000 each for failing to abide by CLS requirements to hire coaches with a minimum of Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) Class B licence.
Meawhile, Epac FC general secretary Chiyamiko Lita accused FAM of playing double standards “by being selective in meting out the punishments. Wanderers and Bullets must also be punished instantly.”