Domestic players have missed an opportunity to benefit from Fifa Fund for Football Players (FFP) which is aimed at cushioning them from the economic effects of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The development is due to the absence of a players’ union affiliated to Fifpro— an umbrella body for all football players unions which is handling the applications for the relief package.
Fifa has set aside $16 million (about K12 billion) for players affected by their clubs‘ failure to pay them their full dues because of the pandemic.
The world football governing body says more than 400 players have applied for financial assistance under FFP, claiming unpaid wages from their clubs in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic which halted football activities across the world.
However, Malawian players cannot apply because currently there is no association affiliated to world players’ union Fifpro.
Football Players Association (FPA) general secretary Ernest Mangani said the association is not yet a Fifpro member because it does not meet the requirement of not less than 200 members.
Currently FPA, which is headed by former Malawi international Jimmy Zakazaka, has a membership of 85.
“For players to apply for this financial help, they need to be members of Fifpro. If Malawi had reached the threshold of 200 by now, we [FPA] would have been members of Fifpro and qualified for this funding,” Mangani said.
He said TNM Super League players are missing out on a lot of initiatives due to FPA’s failure to join Fifpro.
FPA was formed three years ago, but it has struggled to attract membership from TNM Super League players.
“Most of the players are afraid of their clubs,” Mangani said.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) player transfer matching system and compliance manager Casper Jangale said Malawian players need to embrace unionism if they are to enjoy such benefits from Fifa.
“Such initiatives are not for every Jim and Jack. FPA should get organised and attract more players so that it qualifies to join Fifpro,” he said.
TNM Super League players are currently getting K40 000 per month from FAM to cushion them from the economic effects of Covid-19.
FAM set up the Covid-19 relief fund using the association’s $1 million annual funding for operations from Fifa.