Some TNM Super League clubs say it will be hard to implement t Fifa’s plan that clubs worldwide should extend current contracts for players and coaches until the end of the delayed domestic football season.
Nyasa Big Bullets, Civil Service (Civo) United and Be Forward Wanderers argue that the decision that aims to cushion the impact of football suspension due to Covid-19 pandemic, will be expensive for clubs as this means more expenditure on salaries.
According to a leaked internal Fifa document, presented to its Coronavirus Working Group during the week, Fifa also recommends allowing transfer windows to be changed in accordance with new season dates and urges clubs and players to work together to find solutions to salary payments during stoppages.
Fifa set up the working group on March 18 this year and said in a statement that it will “assess the need for amendments or temporary dispensations to the Fifa Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players” to protect contracts for both players and clubs and adjusting player registration periods.
Reuters quoted the Fifa document as saying: “This work has already started and will be conducted in consultation with all key stakeholders, including confederations, member associations, clubs, leagues and players.”
But local football clubs say they have already spent so much on their preparations for the suspended domestic league and the latest order by the world soccer governing body could make things worse for them.
Civo general secretary Ronald Chiwaula said: “I find this plan very expensive. You might agree with me that most of the clubs’ budgets are always in line with the football calendar. Therefore, in the event that there is an extension, definitely, it shall mean more expenditure especially as regards to salaries.
“You might also wish to know that expenditures are already being made because we did not break our training until a few days ago. All in all, this is a global crisis and there is very little we can do.”
Bullets chief of administration Albert Chigoga said the latest Fifa plan means that clubs will be paying players for not offering services.
“This situation affects everyone in football, including players and clubs. It is not an easy decision to make,” he said.
However, the clubs say they will try to come up with resolutions once the Football Association of Malawi (FAM), which is a Fifa affiliate, officially communicates to clubs about the developments.
On player transfers, the clubs agree with Fifa that it does not make sense to close the domestic transfer windows and prevent teams from signing players they want in the wake of football inactivity.
The local transfer window closed on Tuesday yet the league has been suspended. The registering of players with the Super League of Malawi (Sulom) closed over a week ago.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu, who is also a Fifa Council member, yesterday said they will comment on the matter once Fifa officially releases the documents containing the changes to member associations.
“However, we appreciate the foresight and the concern that Fifa has over the welfare of players as a result of the plight brought about by the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.
“We will do everything we can to safeguard the welfare of players and the interest of the clubs during this difficult moment.”
Super League players have welcomed Fifa’s plans, saying it will help to safeguard their welfare in the face of the global pandemic.
Commenting on the issue, Bullets captain Chimango Kayira said: “Fifa’s plans have come at the right time when we are in dilemma on how we will approach our clubs and negotiate contractual issues while the league is suspended. For example, my contract with Bullets expires in January 2021 and from the look of things, the 2020 season might spill over to next year and we might end up being in squabbles with our clubs. Fifa’s plan is a welcome development.”
On his part, Mzuzu Warriors forward Collen Nkhulambe said Fifa’s plans “will save us from our possible contractual misunderstandings with our clubs once they expire in the middle of the season”.
Most domestic and international football competitions around the world have been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic and national team tournaments such as the Euro 2020 and the Copa America have been postponed.
While domestic leagues are hoping to resume when the threat from the virus has receded, concrete dates are yet to be fixed.