COVID-19 COSAFA AfriCAN: Football Association of Malawi creates COVID-19 relief fund

The Football Association of Malawi has created a Special Relief Fund aimed at bailing out elite players and officials who rely on football as a source of income.

The FAM Executive Committee took the decision during an Emergency Meeting held via Video-conference on Monday, to review the FAM Task Force report on the Impact of COVID-19 on Malawi football and recommended mitigation measures.

FAM President Walter Nyamilandu said during a media conference on Tuesday morning, that among those to benefit from the special fund are Super League club players and team officials, Women’s Football Regional League teams and Elite Referees.

He disclosed that FAM intends to use FIFA Special Projects funding for 2020, amounting to US$400,000, for the Special Relief Fund.

“FAM will offer monthly stipends to the above-mentioned beneficiaries of not less than minimum wage as prescribed by Malawi Government,” Nyamilandu said.

“We will, in collaboration with relevant authorities like clubs and Associations, pay individual beneficiaries direct to their personal accounts between June and July.

“The Relief Fund will be assessed on a month-to-month basis by the task force to determine the extent and continuation of the support. In the event that the situation normalises, FAM will withdraw the funding, but after giving notice to the beneficiaries

“We will immediately write to FIFA to request for authorization to reallocate Special Projects funding for 2020 and upon FIFA’s approval, the disbursement will start in June,” Nyamilandu added.

Watch former Malawi captain Joseph Kamwendo’s message to fans!

Nyamilandu added that FAM will also bail out its Member Associations by increasing the yearly subventions they receive directly by 50 percent.

“Bearing in mind that Affiliates’ principle sources of revenues have been adversely affected with the situation at hand, the Committee Resolved to release the funds earlier than planned.

“These funds will henceforth be available from June. The subventions for Member Associations will come from the Operations Fund. In total FAM is expected to spend close to K350 million between June and December,” he said.

FAM has also given direction on the football calendar as the association has committed to host all football competitions as planned in 2020 once football resumes.

The season will only go ahead with some adjustments to the fixtures, and can spill over to next year if the delay is within six months, April to September 2020.

If the delay is of more than six months, that is October and beyond, the season will be considered to have been lost and FAM will start planning for another season, which would start January 2021.

On Social Responsibility Initiatives, FAM has offered the Ministry of Health Luwinga Technical Centre Premises in Mzuzu as a quarantine centre for COVID-19 during the pandemic.

“We feel obliged to help the nation in the fight against the pandemic. We will collaborate with other partners on awareness campaign as well as resource mobilisation to help in the fight against the COVID-19,” said Nyamilandu.

On the FIFA COVID-19 emergency funding, he said: “FIFA is trying to work on another emergency relief package for Member Associations. But we are not sure when it will be ready.

“That is why we have decided to create our own bailout plan. The FIFA package will supplement the bailout package that FAM has initiated.”

Nyamilandu has since urged all football stakeholders to continue observing the precautionary measures to prevent the pandemic.