TNM Super League clubs have protested a Football Association of Malawi (FAM) decision to increase surety fees by 200 percent from K1 million to K3 million ahead of the new season that kicks-off on April 1 2020.
Top-flight league clubs, especially the self-sponsored ones such as Mighty Tigers, Karonga United and Chitipa United, say the hike is on the higher side considering the financial struggle they are going through.
In a club licensing calendar of events sent to top-flight league outfits along with invitation to apply for a licence to participate in the 2020 football season, FAM states that clubs should pay the fees by March 1 2020.
The calendar explains that FAM will refund half of the surety money at the end of the first round if they fulfil their fixtures and pay the remainder at the end of each season.
FAM introduced the surety under club licensing system as a commitment that clubs should fulfil their fixtures.
“We are really shocked with FAM’s decision. If we struggled to raise K1 million for previous seasons, how would we manage to raise K3 million?” Tigers’ chairperson Sydney Chikotisaid.
“The K3 million meant for surety is enough cash to help us cater for players’ allowances for months.”
Karonga United chairperson Alufeyo Chipanga concurred with Chikoti that the hike would do no justice to local clubs considering the fact that teams spend a lot to fulfil their 30 league fixtures despite the prize money being on the lower side.
“With this decision, I believe FAM just wants us dead. In other countries, teams get starter packs but it is sad that in Malawi we do the opposite despite clubs being very poor,” he said.
Chipanga insisted that Karonga United will not pay the surety and is ready to face the consequences.
Civil Sporting Club general secretary Ronald Chiwaula said they do not see the reason why FAM has upped the surety and he pleaded with the local soccer governing body to rescind its decision.
Nevertheless, Nyasa Big Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga yesterday welcomed FAM’s decision, saying it will bring sanity to the country’s football system.
“While we sympathise with struggling teams, we believe the professionalising of our football should be a priority. It is high time we moved out of amateur kind of football, whereby teams fail to fulfil fixtures and honour their contractual obligations,” he said.
FAM transfer matching system (TMS) and club licensing manager Casper Jangale yesterday said they will not rescind their decision as they would like to protect the interest of the game through ensuring seriousness on club licensing.