FAM has ordered that with effect from the forthcoming season, all the Super League clubs will be required to have contracts with their players.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) commercial manager Casper Jangale and Super League of Malawi (Sulom) general secretary Williams Banda said the move will help ensure that the welfare of players is protected.
Said Jangale: “For sometime now, we have been talking to Sulom and the clubs on the need to move with the times in the quest to commercialise our national league and one of the crucial aspects to achieve that goal is to ensure that clubs should have standard contracts with players.
“Football is a career and any career has to be protected. There are cases whereby our players have been exploited by going for months without getting paid and disputes have arisen regarding their [players] status in the absence of contracts.”
Jangale claimed that, in principle, Sulom has agreed to the order.
“To that effect, we are planning for a stakeholders meeting on April 1 where we’ll come up with the modalities.
“Sulom has already given us the go-ahead to arrange the meeting,” said Jangale.
The FAM commercial manager also noted that Malawi is one of the few countries that are lagging behind on player contracts.
“We are not living in the past, we are living in the present with the hope for the future.
“The world has gone digital and we need to move with the times. We are not saying clubs should offer players contracts like those offered to world-class players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and [Lionel] Messi, but we need to be orderly and come up with something tangible,” said Jangale.
He said the move is the first step in ensuring that the Fifa-initiated 2009 Lilongwe Declaration to commercialise the flagship football league is achieved.
Jangale also said, according to their findings, 90 percent of the Super League teams do not have contracts with their players.
“There are just a few such as Silver Strikers that have done well in that aspect, but most of them do not have contracts with their players,” he said.
However, the Sulom GS said while they totally agree with FAM’s move, there are other issues that need to be looked into critically.
“Actually, we have always encouraged our clubs to have contracts with their players.
“But, then, some of the challenges are that there are some teams owned by government security institutions such as Red Lions, Moyale, Kamuzu Barracks and Blue Eagles that come up with special agreements for players by virtue of being employers of the institutions.
“And then there are other players who are students and, therefore, there will be need to come up with specific terms and hopefully the meeting that FAM is arranging will address all that,” said Banda.
Mighty Wanderers general secretary David Kanyenda hailed FAM’s move, saying: “I think it is a welcome development. In principle, it’s a move in the right direction towards commercialising the clubs.
“Ideally, we should have taken the first step without being compelled by either FAM or Sulom.”
Kanyenda conceded that his club does not have contracts with all the players.
Recently, two Wanderers key players Alfred Manyozo Jnr and Innocent Jere failed to clinch deals with a top Botswana club due to the Nomads’ failure to produce contracts.
Speaking in his personal capacity, Big Bullets midfielder James Chilapondwa hailed FAM and Sulom for the move.
“It is a welcome development and hopefully it will ease the problem of disputes arising from lack of contracts.
“It will also protect players’ welfare,” said Chilapondwa.