Four months before Football Association Malawi (FAM) elections, the association’s most influential affiliates—Super League of Malawi (Sulom) and regional associations—want the mother body to increase their annual subvention.
The regions (North, South and Centre) and Sulom have taken a swipe at the mother body, accusing it of failing to adequately fund them, a development which has resulted in the dwindling of football standards country.from the grass roots in the
Currently, all FAM affiliates get K1 million per year from the association, but women’s football, youth, referees, coaches and beach soccer get extra funding, from what FAM receives from Fifa, for their programmes.
The four affiliates, who do not get a cutting from the FIfa funding, petitioned FAM to increase their annual subvention, saying despite directly running the first and second and lower-tier leagues on behalf of FAM, they are neglected by the mother body.
Southern Region Football Association (SRFA) chairperson Raphael Humba said districts are the most affected since the regional associations have concentrated on the leagues due to poor funding.
“Ever since the regional associations merged with regional leagues, it has been tough. The K14 million sponsorship we get [from Rab Processors] is for the league. At the end of the day it is the districts that are suffering most.
“Right now, there is literally nothing happening in the districts because there is no funding. This is one of the things whoever will win the FAM elections in December should look into,” he said.
His Northern Region counterpart, Lameck Khonje, also bemoaned the region’s neglect by FAM, in terms of funding.
“We get meager K1 million per year from FAM, just like other affiliates, yet we have to run the Premier Division and the First Division. Our sponsorship for the league from Simso is at K4 million.
“We have districts that also look up to us for funding. FAM leadership should not just need our support during elections. They need to support us all the way,” he said.
Sulom general secretary Williams Banda had same story on how they struggle to pay referees since TNM Plc
sponsorship, which is at K90 million, does not cater for that.
“We have to pay referees allowances, transport, food and accommodation. Each season the referees’ bills hits close to K50 million, yet we get K1 million just like other affiliates who enjoy funding from Fifa. FAM has to do something about this,” he said.
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda said the association was aware of the financial challenges the four affiliates are going through.
“Following a recommendation from the budget review consultations meeting with heads of affiliates in Mangochi in May the executive committee decided, at its meeting in June, to significantly increase the funding from K1 million to K5 million for regional associations and K7 million for Sulom,” he said.
However, the four associations say the increment is not enough.
“Of course, it is just for a start, but the K5 million is just too little considering our needs. We hope next time we will be involved when FAM is drawing up its budget so that they can appreciate what we want,” said Humba.
But Gunda said FAM will continue increasing the subvention depending on the availability of funds.
“A review of the grants to the affiliates will continue to be exercised annually depending on the extent to which FAM is able to generate additional revenue from its commercial ventures. It is common knowledge that all the affiliates, including FAM are facing financial constraints hence the need to seriously embark on a commercialisation drive to become self sustainable,” he said.
Over the years the annual subvention, which started at K50 000, increased to K100 000 then K600 000. The current K1 million subvention per affiliate was effected four years ago.
Gunda also clarified that the four affiliates cannot benefit from Fifa funding as they are not on the world football governing body’s core programmes.
“Fifa funding is directed towards specific projects that are guided and directed by Fifa. The specified projects are technical, administration, men’s competition, youth football, women’s football and beach soccer.