Fifa has clarified that despite its stand against tobacco sponsorship, Big Bullets can still go ahead with its K500 million ($909,091)-five-year partnership agreement with cigarette manufacturing firm—Nyasa Manufacturing Company (NMC).
In its responce to the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) on the matter, Fifa stated that despite its stand, it is not in a position of authority to impose its own policies and values.
“As much as Fifa actively discourages confederations, national associations, league, clubs and other organisers from accepting tobacco sponsorship, it cannot impose its own judgements upon them.
“In this respect, too, Fifa finds itself in a dichotomy in that while on the one hand it has an obligation to promote the good image of the game [which may be done also by refusing to accept tobacco sponsorship], it is also obliged to assist associations and other bodies to maximise their potential revenue in any legally admissible manner [which may include accepting tobacco sponsorship money],” reads part of Fifa’s response.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu, who facilitated the deal, also confirmed having been cleared by Fifa.
“We sought clarification from Fifa on the issue and we were cleared,” he said.
Soon after the announcement of the deal, the social media was awash with suggestions that Fifa’s stand on the matter could act as a stumbling block to Bullets’ multi-million kwacha deal.
The cigarette manufacturing firm’s managing director Demo Kalaitzis, Bullets chairperson Samuel Chilunga and Nyamilandu confirmed that a pre-contract was signed last week, saying the agreement will see NMC pumping in K100 million or more, every year for the five-year duration—turning them into the best sponsored team in the land.