Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) has justified the introduction of participation fee for its competitions, saying the regional governing body needs the funds in the absence of sponsors.
This comes after some member associations, including Football Association of Malawi (FAM), separately demanded justification on the same.
FAM has since said it is convinced with Cosafa’s explanation and will join the tournaments.
Cosafa said in a statement that participation fees are required for competitions which are not covered by Confederation of African Football (CAF) development funds.
“A participation fee of $20 000 [about K16 million] will be required for member associations to compete in the 2021 Cosafa Cup. A fee of $10 000 [about K8 million] will be levied for the inaugural Women’s Champions League and Futsal competitions.
“The participation fees will be used to fund the organising and delivery of the Cosafa Cup and Futsal tournaments, which are not covered by development funds from the CAF. The Women’s Champions League is partly covered by development funds, but not enough to stage the event without additional financial support,” reads the statement in part.
Cosafa, however, says should it manage to find sponsors for the three competitions, the money will be refunded to member associations.
“In these challenging economic times brought about by Covid-19, we have not managed to secure a sponsor for these three competitions yet. Should a sponsor be signed and the revenue sufficient to cover the costs of the events, the participation fees will not be levied, or if already paid, will be refunded.
“Cosafa did apply for Covid-19 relief funding last year, but as we are a zone within CAF and are not direct members of Fifa, our application was not successful.”
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda said Malawi will take part in all competitions except the Women’s Champions League and the Futsal Cup.
“As FAM, we are convinced with the reasons given for the introduction of the participation fees.
“The executive committee has since approved the technical sub-committee’s recommendation to participate in Cosafa Cup for both men and women’s senior tournaments, Under-20 and Under-17 for both men and women. As a member, we will have to meet the requirements,” he said.
Soccer analyst Charles Nyirenda said Cosafa is justified to introduce the participation fees in the absence of sponsors.
“Cosafa has no choice. Member associations have an obligation to ensure the regional football governing body holds these competitions,” he said.