Football Association of Malawi (FAM) will get grants amounting to $1.5 million (about K1.12 billion) from Fifa under stage three of its Covid-19 Relief Plan.
The grants, which will be distributed to all member associations, were approved by the Fifa Council during a videoconference held on Thursday.
A statement released by the world football governing body states that the financial support will be provided through a system of grants and loans:
“A universal solidarity grant of $1 million (about K745 million) will be made available to all member associations and an additional grant of $500 000 (about K372.5 million) will be allocated specifically to women’s football,” reads part of the statement.
Fifa also states that member associations will be able to apply for interest-free loans amounting to up to 35 percent of their audited annual revenues.
The statement further reads: “In the interest of solidarity, a minimum loan of $500 000 will be available and a maximum of $5 million.”
“Both grants and loans can be directed by member associations to the wider football community in their respective territories, including clubs, players, leagues, or others that have been affected.”
Reacting to the bailout, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said: “Once again we applaud Fifa for coming to the rescue of its member associations during this critical period of the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is huge and very significant. It complements the efforts that FAM initiated to bail out players and football officials through a monthly stipend and relief packs.”
The FAM president, who is also a Fifa Council member, said the solidarity grant will enable the association to roll out a cross-cutting solution “to alleviate the plight of the football family that is facing economic hardship due to the impact of Covid-19”.
He said: “It also gives an opportunity to revive some of the football projects that were suspended.
“As it stands, we are now in a better position to devise a full-scale survival and recovery package for the football industry in the wake of the adverse effects caused by Covid-19.”
Nyamilandu said once the guidelines have been provided by Fifa, the FAM executive committee will make a decision on how to apply the funds effectively and allocate the resources equitably.
National Women’s Football Association chairperson Suzgo Ngwira also applauded Fifa, saying the grant will help them implement their plans.
On his part, Super League of Malawi president Tiya Somba-Banda said: “This is a huge boost to the game. I would rather see to it that we invest in infrastructure as that will make our game resilient to the shocks that we are going through rather than spending on recurrent expenditure.”
Fifa further states that to ensure effective oversight of the plan, there will be strict controls on the use of funds, audit requirements, as well as clear loan repayment conditions.
“A Fifa Covid-19 Relief Plan steering committee will also be established to supervise the administration of the scheme,” the statement further reads.
In total, Fifa will release $1.5 billion towards the cause.
In the first two stages of the plan, Fifa provided for the immediate release of all forward operational-cost payments to member associations and, subsequently, for the opportunity to transform forward development grants into Covid-19 operational relief funds with a minimum of 50 percent of released funds to be allocated to women’s football.
In April, FAM resolved to use part of its K350 million funding from Fifa Special Projects to give to Super League players and team officials, regional league teams, women’s football teams and referees.
Under the initiative, 30 players and five officials from each TNM Super League club are expected to receive K40 000 each for six months. The initiative rolled out this month.