Football Association of Malawi (FAM) says clubs wishing to participate in 2018 Confederation of Africa (CAF) competitions—Champions League and Confederation Cup—must be ready to deposit K15 million as surety.
Registration for the two competitions is underway and closes on November 30, but FAM says it will be tough when vouching for the clubs that want to enter the two competitions.
FAM acting competitions and media manager Casper Jangale, who is also club licensing manager, said the association has introduced the surety to avoid a repetition of a scenario in 2014 when Nyasa Big Bullets left around $6 000 (over K4 million) debt with the continental governing body.
Bullets were slapped with several fines by CAF ranging from failing to pay match commissioners and referees accommodation and allowances to late registration of players such as Chiukepo Msowoya.
The responsibility of ensuring the fines are paid is with FAM.Jangale said after FAM paid the fines, Bullets are yet to finish repaying the sum.
He said: “We learned a lesson from Bullets’ participation. We had to pay the fines on behalf of the club and up to now Bullets have not yet finished repaying our money. That is why we decided that for a team to participate in CAF competitions, they have to deposit the surety of $20 000 [about K15 million].”
So far, Silver Strikers and Be Forward Wanderers have expressed interest to take part in the CAF competitions.
Silver general secretary Thabo Chakaka-Nyirenda said sponsors Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) expressed interest to sponsor the team’s CAF competitions participation.
“One of the issues that came up when RBM was presenting a new bus, was on CAF competitions participation. The sponsors said they are ready to do so,” he said.
But Chakaka Nyirenda, however, said FAM’s demand for K15 million is restrictive.
He said: “Who made this decision and for what reasons? Should other clubs be punished for the sins of one club? I think this is retrogressive to the development of football. Instead of teams and sponsors looking for funds to use during the competition, why should they be burdened with finding K15 million that will just lie idle in FAM’s account? And will the money indeed be idle at the bank? Won’t FAM end up using it for other things?”
Wanderers chairperson Gift Mkandawire said the K15 million will only prevent clubs from registering even if they have capacity to participate.
“It’s a draconian rule. Much as they have a good reason to introduce the K15 million surety, based on past experience, this will not help in the development of football. It is unfair to clubs who already struggle financially,” he said.
“The association must find other means of ensuring clubs do not default payment of such things, but definitely not K15 million surety. That is just too much.”
But Jangale said the clubs stand to benefit more in participating and the K15 million should not scare them.
“Clubs should not just look at this money and think we are punishing them. They [clubs] stand to benefit more even financially if they join the CAF competitions. Just imagine if they register and they are paired against teams like Orlando Pirates or Kaizer Chiefs? With the opening of the Bingu National Stadium, they can make even K100 million in one match,” he said.
The last time a Malawian club participated in CAF competitions, Bullets beat Comoros champions Fomboni Club De Mohel in the preliminary round but were knocked out by Al-Hilal from Sudan in second round. n