Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has warned its affiliates to brace for tough times since the Fifa Covid-19 Support is a one-off relief arrangement and cannot sustain them if football remains suspended.
New Covid-19 prevention measures restrict public gatherings to 50 people and FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said in an interview unless football is excerpted from the laws, the local game is doomed.
He said this as the affiliates are waiting for Fifa to release the last chunk of $500 000 (about K385 million) due on January 31 meant to cushion them from the effects of the pandemic.
Nyamilandu said: “Fifa will release funds soon for Covid-19 Relief support. This was already approved and budgeted for. It’s just a matter of time.
“But we need to brace for tough times. The support from Fifa was one-off. The gazetted restrictions on Covid-19 do not help the cause.
“It would have been great if there was a waiver on football gathering to 100 so that life should not stop completely in football.”
Fifa allocated $ 1 million to each member association, including FAM, to be disbursed in two instalments of $500 000.
The first instalment was disbursed in August 2020 while the other half was supposed to be paid in January 2021.
However, as of yesterday, the world football governing body was yet to release the funding and no reason has been given for the delay.
The development has stirred panic among beneficiaries, including TNM Super League clubs, who were allocated K10 million each and got half the funding.
Nyasa Big Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga said the absence of football was putting a strain on the team’s finances and called for FAM to do something.
“This is a very bad season. Even is football resumes, playing without supporters makes matters worse,” he said.
The situation is even worse for clubs that do not have steady sponsorship such as Karonga United, Chitipa United, Ekwendeni United and Ntopwa FC, who have been relying on the Fifa Covid-19 support.
Meanwhile, Ntopwa FC owner Isaac Osman has once again put the franchise up for sale .
“With football suspended, I cannot manage to pay the players their salaries. Those interested in buying the club can come and we can talk,” he said.
The Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 is expcted to reveiw the pandemic’s status in the country, and decide whether to maintain the new laws.
As of Sunday, Malawi had registered 477 new Covid-19 cases, 297 new recoveries and 15 new deaths.
Of the new cases, 475 are locally transmitted while the rest were imported into the country.
Meanwhile, FAM Covid-19 Task Force chairperson Chimango Munthali said they will continue to engage the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 on how football can resume.