The implementation of Players Welfare Fund is facing challenges due to Football Association of Malawi’s (FAM) lack of constitutional mandate to cut clubs’ share of gate revenue, the Weekend Nation has learned.
FAM decided to introduce the Players Welfare Fund following incidents where players failed to get medical attention and financial help while serving or retired at their clubs.
A stakeholders meeting held early this year decided that clubs, Sulom and FAM should give up three percent of their gate collections to created 10 percent share for the Players Welfare Fund.
However, three weeks into the 2016 season no team has remitted the funds.
FAM legal adviser Jabbar Alide, who is also the association’s executive member, warned in an e-mail to stakeholders on the challenges the initiative would face because FAM lacks constitutional mandate to deduct gate collections.
In the e-mail the legal adviser tips FAM to tread carefully on the matter.
After Nyasa Big Bullets and Moyale Barracks refused to remit the funds, Alide noted that he had anticipated such a scenario.
“We must tread carefully on this issue. We cannot even impose any sanction on the clubs for such refusal because we do not have any constitutional mandate to do that. Worse still, FAM does not have direct authority over clubs except on issues of player transfers. From my opinion, we do not have any document giving us legal mandate to collect these funds,” he wrote.
Alide also schooled the stakeholders that clubs and Super League of Malawi are the ones that can implement the Players’ Welfare Fund.
“As I said, and I am repeating, we are headed for disaster, if we do not conceptualise this thing properly. I advised that let us learn from our friends on how they have conceptualised this issue.
“I did some research and noted that FAs do not do this. Welfare issues are handled by the clubs or players unions. Mark my words; I am not saying that we cannot do differently here. As counsel, I only provoke thought and advise, if need be.”
Bullets acting general secretary Kelvin Moyo said they cannot surrender the money without knowing where it was going, who would be managing it, and the beneficiaries.
The Super League giants demanded that FAM produce the account number and signatories.
His counterpart at Be Forward Wanderers, Mike Butao, said the stakeholders meeting did not decide to roll out the initiative, but rather agreed that a task force should find out how to implement the initiative.
“From what I know, this Players Welfare Fund is not going to start immediately. I was at the stakeholders meeting where it was in fact, agreed that the Players Welfare Committee will meet and devise a plan on how to implement this initiative. The committee will then come back to us to explain everything,” he said.
Blue Eagles manager Gabriel Chirwa said the Malawi Police Service outfit was ready to join the fund although they have their own players’ welfare at Area 30 Police Headquarters.
“AS MPS, yes we do have our own welfare fund. But we are in the TNM Super League which has its own rules and regulation. With this club licensing thing, we need to be uniform with other clubs. We are willing to be part of this initiative as long as the funds are for the good of our players,” he said.
Chirwa, however, said they are yet to start remitting the three percent cut.
“It’s not up to us to remit the funds. It’s up to Sulom and FAM to come up with the structures and procedures to enable them get the money from the gross,” he said.
However, reacting to the club’s reluctance to remit their share, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu described the excuses as lame.
“It’s a pity that they didn’t co-operate. The Players Welfare Fund is a landmark project which will improve plight of our players. It’s high time that the career of football players is taken seriously. We need the clubs and all stakeholders to demonstrate their concern by coming to the party,” said Nyamilandu.
The association appointed a Players Welfare Committee that comprises chairperson Alfred Gunda, vice-chairperson Innocent Bottoman and members Daud Suleman, Alfred Lungu, Kondi Msungama, Sam Chilunga, Charles Kapichi, Suzgo Nyirenda and Casper Jangale. n