Newly appointed Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama’s remarks that Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president is politically compromised has been described as political interference which contravenes Fifa statutes.
Lawyer and football analyst David Kanyenda said in an interview, the minister’s remarks are against Fifa Statutes.
Article 13 of Fifa Statutes states: “Each member must manage their affairs independently and ensure that there is no interference by third parties in their affairs.”
Said Kanyenda: “Fifa respects the sovereignty of States and municipal laws, but deeply cherishes and safeguards autonomy of national associations. Fifa Statutes are designed to insulate operations of football bodies from government interference, particularly in relation to issues concerning tenure of office.
“I would like to request the honourable minister of Sports to note the many examples worldwide where direct government intervention has resulted in restrictions being placed on a national association. The interventionist approach, espoused by the honourable minister, risks landing us in hot soup with Fifa.”
Soon after his appointment, Msungama was quoted as having said that Nyamilandu should consider resigning for allegedly being associated with the former governing DPP party.
He said: “I am a straight forward person who calls a spade by its name. I was interested that being an intellectual, how could he use his powers to advance his personal interests? I looked at it that he is not fit to be FAM president.
“I would wish Walter to understand me that way. He is an elected president, but the expectation is that he should know where to draw the line or else resign from his position.”
Nyamilandu declined to comment on whether the minister’s remarks could put the country in trouble, but he was quoted by our sister paper Weekend Nation, having said he is not politically compromised.
“As FAM he serve the government of the day. This remains our commitment and call to duty to the new government. We are apolitical and shall always remain as such as part of our corporate governance principles.”
But during a meeting held on Thursday the minister backtracked on his remarks, saying he has never said that Nyamilandu should resign.
Kanyenda, who served as Be Forward Wanderers general secretary, said the implication of his move could incite the world governing body to impose sanctions.
“Due to football’s local popularity, it is safe to conclude that any suspension from international football competitions may not be well received by the public.
“While Fifa operates a private legal system in order to determine allegations of breach of its regulations, it’s highly likely that complaints raised at the behest of political figures will be treated with suspicion and low regard.”
Another football analyst Humphreys Mvula also feared that if the minister will not backtrack on his assertions Malawi could be banned.
“What the minister should have done is to settle down first not issuing threats to the FAM president. This is political interference and Malawi could pay heavily with Fifa sanctions.
“FAM has the absolute mandate to run football affairs in the country on behalf of Fifa.”