Football Association of Malawi (FAM) could be saving nearly K100 million yearly if it permanently adopts video conferencing which has proved effective amid coronavirus (Covid-19) social distancing precautionary measures, The Nation has established.
According to last year’s financial report, FAM spent K54 million on executive committee members’ accomodation and transport, and around K30 million for annual general meeting (AGM).
The AGM consists of representatives of FAM affiliates and exco members.
FAM reportedly spends K2.5 million on accomodation and transport costs to bring together disciplinary subcommittee members for a case hearing. On average, it resolves around five cases annually, blowing K10 million.
Last month, FAM successfully held its emergency executive meeting online with over 10 participants located across the country.
The local football governing body’s president Walter Nyamilandu, also confirmed that its disciplinary wing discussed online the player transfer wrangles involving striker Adepoju Babatunde and midfielder Vitumbiko Kumwenda.
“So far, FAM has successfully hosted a number of virtual meetings most notably the emergency executive committee meeting and two meetings on contracts disputes by the FAM Players Status Committee,” he said.
Southern Region Football Association (SRFA) chairperson Raphael Humba, in an interview, said they do not have problems adopting the online technology.
He said: “If truly it is an effective way of saving funds, we would support the idea of adopting it permanently.
“However, we need to be assured that all the delegates to the AGM, 36 in total, would be accommodated on the online platform. Then the other question is, do all of us have the gadgets to effectively participate?”
Economist Chiku Kalilombe also supported the video conferencing concept, but rallied his weight much on the exco meetings as it attracts sizeable patronage.
“The online option does indeed appear probable as a cost-cutting measure and should be really considered as a way forward especially for the executive meetings,” he said.
On cutting AGM costs, the Kenya based Kalilombe proposed that it should be held at FAM headquarters the Chiwembe Technical Centre.
“Further, more cost-cutting avenues need to be explored. For example, AGM is held off site yet FAM has offices and accomodation facilities [in Blantyre]. This could be reconsidered,” he said.
But Nyamilandu in a response to a questionnaire on Wednesday said they do not have plans to permanently adopt video conferencing.
“We are not thinking of hosting online conferences permanently as most meetings, by virtue of their nature, will have to be held in the face to face setup when the situation normalises,” he said.
However, the president said based on situations, they would be able to hold meetings via online platforms.
“Where we are in a situation that offers virtual meeting as that requires quick decisions, we will not hesitate to proceed to use online alternatives of meeting mode,” he pointed out.
FAM struggles financially sometimes resulting in failure to pitch national teams, mostly youths and women sides, in vital competitions.