Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has closed its Mpira Village comprising a stadium, hotel, gym, restaurant and bar situated in Chiwembe, Blantyre amid novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The businesses were the association’s only remaining source of revenue in the absence of gate collections and broadcasting rights for matches following the suspension of all football alongside other sporting activities.
A visit to the village revealed found only security officers are at the office as the association has also closed its secretariat.
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda confirmed in an interview the development, saying they decided to close shop following advice from the Covid-19 Task Force.
“We are closed. All of us are working from home. We only go to the office when there is something specific to pick there. As for the hotel, restaurant and bar, the staff has been sent on leave,” he said.
FAM instituted a task force headed by executive committee member Chimango Munthali to
the effects of the pandemic.undertake a situation analysis on
The task force established that patronage to the secretariat’s businesses had gone down; hence, the move to close them.
The findings revealed that despite the hotel being open, it had no customer in April.
The task force’s report reads in part: “During the analysis, we found out that the sales form FAM’s commercial arms had gone down while we kept on incurring the operational costs of having the members of staff around.
“The restaurant, hotel and bar should be closed, and all salaried members of staff sent on paid leave immediately. All support staff to be sent on leave apart from the security staff.
“All specialists [officers, middle managers and directors] to be working from home and only access the office if they are unable to perform a certain assigned role that requires access to servers or some files at the office.”
Malawi had as of yesterday recorded 63 cases of the coronavirus after five new cases were announced.
There were calls from some suppporters that FAM should restart football, however the association has insisted that it will only do so once government says it is safe.