FAM has suggested the need for clubs to review players’ wages as a way of cushioning some of the teams’ pressing operational expenses due to the suspension of the football season following the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19).
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu yesterday said this could offer clubs—especially those without sponsorship—some relief in the absence of gate collections which is their main source of revenue for most teams.
He was responding to a question on what other plans the association has to ease financial problems clubs are facing apart from releasing the K1 million surety to TNM Super League clubs.
In some European leagues, such as the English Premier League, clubs are cutting players’ salaries as a way of mitigating financial constraints.
Nyamilandu said: “FAM doesn’t have the capacity to bail out the clubs since it does not have any reserves. The onus is on the clubs to determine what and how they manage their activities during this lean period.
“During these tough financial times, it would be advisable for clubs to consider coming up with a survival remuneration package for the players if they cannot afford to pay them in full. This is critical to ensure that the players should make ends meet, but it will obviously require a lot of sacrifices.”
Karonga United general secretary Ramzy Simwaka and Kasungu-based TN Stars administrator Jones Banda said while the FAM president’s advice is timely food for thought, convincing the players would be a tall order as what they get is already on the lower side.
Said Simwaka: “We mainly depend on gate collections for the club’s operations, in particular players and technical staff’s salaries and with the current situation, we are bankrupt. So, FAM’s suggestion is worth pursuing, but the tricky part would be convincing the players because what they get is already on the lower side.”
On his part, Banda said: “It is a good idea, but we have to consider what the players are getting. For instance, if a player gets K40 000 to K50 000, it would be unfair to cut his salary on humanitarian grounds.
“In other countries, especially in Europe, it can work because they are financially sound.”
Be Forward Wanderers captain Alfred Manyozo Jnr and his Bullets counterpart Chimango Kayira said while appreciating the FAM president’s suggestion, it would be difficult to implement it on the domestic scene.
Said Manyozo: “It is a good idea considering the situation, but it would be ideal to come up with other ways other than cutting players’ salaries because what we get is too little.”
Kayira said: “While we appreciate the president’s efforts in coming up with ways to mitigate the situation, it cannot work on the local scene because what most players get is peanuts and there are no any other benefits.”
Football analyst George Kaudza Masina said the issue of players sacrificing a portion of their salaries cannot work “because their salaries aren’t worth cutting”.
He said: “The Football Players Association has been advocating for a minimum wage for all Super League players which in essence means they are underpaid and it would be unfair to punish them further.”