Football players will now access medical insurance cover after Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and Super League of Malawi (Sulom) sealed a 10-year partnership with Medical Aid Society of Malawi (Masm).
The tailor-made scheme branded Econo-Sport is worth K18 million a year and will cover 800 players from Super League clubs, women’s regional leagues and national teams.
FAM has stepped in to pay the premiums on behalf of the clubs and players and will be contributing K9 million a year with Masm contributing the other half.
Each player will be covered up to a maximum of K1.4 million a year.
During the signing ceremony on Thursday in Blantyre, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said the programme is part of the association’s strategy to improve players’ welfare and produce athletes that are highly motivated, committed, professional and secured.
He said: “The signing of this contract gives peace and total assurance to our football players that from today, they can now fully commit themselves on the pitch, knowing that their health is well covered.
“Our players will now stop begging for help to get decent medical treatment whenever need arises. What this means is that our players will be guaranteed to get first-class professional medical attention by qualified practitioners. I am a very happy person.”
Nyamilandu also encouraged football players to join the Football Players Association to access better services from the deal.
In his remarks, Masm chief executive officer Sydney Chikoti, himself a football administrator, said the society would like to contribute to the easing of football players’ suffering by offering decent medical services.
“We want to partner with football for a very long time and this will be a long-life deal. But for a start, it will be a 10-year partnership reviewed every year,” he said.
Sulom president Tiya Somba Banda said the sealing of the deal fulfilled his vision to take good care of players.
He said: “It’s sad when we look at cases of players being sick or injured we had in the past, because we failed our players on access to medical care. We did not look at their humanity aspects, but just their on-field exploits.
“This deal moves us towards fulfilling our holistic view of players welfare not in isolated packages where we want them to have professional contracts with medical cover, mandatory wages and insurance.”
Football Players Association president Jimmy Zakazaka said the deal will encourage more players to take football as a career.
“We would like to thank FAM and Sulom for the initiative. This is a big step in improving the players welfare. Most clubs are struggling financially to pay their players and can’t cover medical issues, a situation that exposed our members,” he said.
Clubs have applauded FAM and Masm for the deal, saying it will ease their burden on medical bills.
Be Foward Wanderers general secretary Victor Maunde said: “It’s a good development because it gives hope to clubs as well as players who we were struggling to take care of.
“As for Wanderers, we are currently going through economic hardship and it is not possible to put all players on medical cover.”
Nyasa Big Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga said: “Clubs will no longer spend on medical cover as FAM and Masm will take care of it. This is a step in the right direction.”