Football and netball jointly risk losing K130 million from the 2019/20 National Budget as their associations FAM and NAM, will unlikely spend the funds within the stipulated fiscal year due to suspension of all sports activities because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, all unspent funds are forfeited before the new fiscal year begins its cycle on July 1.
The ministry’s spokesperson Williams Banda said: “All unused resources lapse at the end of the financial year.”
Banda said the associations will have to, through the council, ask for allocation of funds in the 2020/21 Budget for their cancelled programmes.
That means Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) have two months to spend the money.
However, since the coronavirus pandemic has not been contained here and abroad, Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) believes it is impossible to achieve that.
MNCS acting executive secretary Henry Mereka said: “If the pandemic is declared over, say, next month, it will be very difficult for us to recover and organise the games.
“Even the international organisers would find it tough to instantly re-organise the competitions in which we can participate using those funds.”
Netball will be the biggest loser as NAM has not spent K80 million of the K300 million allocated to the national team.
It is also yet to spend K20 million of the K30 million meant for the Presidential Cup.
Football also faces the prospect of losing K20 of the K60 million meant for the Presidential Cup finals and K10 million of the K300 million for the Flames’ participation in Africa Cup of Nation and World Cup qualifiers.
The MNCS, which administers and distributes the funds to more than 40 associations, confirmed the K130 million FAM and NAM outstanding budgetary allocations.
However, Mereka said most of the associations exhausted their grants in the opening six months of the fiscal year.
“Of course there are some associations that will face insignificant losses but they won’t be as significant as netball and football,” he said.
Mereka has, in the meantime, stated that the council will try to find a way to ensure they redeem the money.
“We will discuss the matter. Sports funding is already meagre. It is therefore crucial that we protect what we had already secured,” he said.
NAM general secretary Carol Bapu, in her take, feared that forfeiture of the funds will result in hard financial times for the netball industry.
“The international tournaments which were suspended might be played later this year. But then with those funds taken away, it will be difficult for us to participate in them,” she explained.
Bapu said NAM’s expectation is that government will treat the situation as delicate and consider letting the funds remain in their custody.
“We will lobby that we keep the funds. It is not our fault to remain with unused money. We just hope there is a way to let us use the money later,” he said.
FAM competitions and communications director Gomezgani Zakazaka described the development as a blow to grassroots football.
“The K20 million that is remaining is for the districts Presidential Cup which is aimed at promoting grassroots. We just hope that we will be given the funds in the next financial year to complete the competition,” he said.
Before Fifa and CAF suspended football matches due to Covid-19, the Flames were scheduled to play against Burkina Faso home and away in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier and South Sudan in the World Cup qualifier.
There were also Cosafa Cup matches involving the junior and women national teams.