Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) has said Football Association of Malawi (FAM) will no longer be allowed to divert funding meant for the Presidential Cup towards Flames engagements.
The K60 million ($120 000) tournament, which was established to identify talent and improve football from the grass roots, has not been held for two years now because funding was diverted towards Flames engagements.
In 2013, about K39 million ($78 000) was diverted towards Flames’ trip to Nigeria for a World Cup qualifier which affected last year’s tournament while funds meant for this year’s competition went towards meeting the national team’s 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
However, Sports Council executive secretary George Jana yesterday said this time around, diversion of funds for the national tournament will not be entertained as it is not serving the intended purpose.
He was responding to a question on whether next year’s tournament’s funding had been considered in this year’s budget.
“We are yet to finalise the allocations to various sports disciplines, but yes definitely it will be there. In fact, funding for the tournament has always been there only that FAM had to make requests for extra funding to meet national team engagements and it had to be diverted,” said Jana.
“If the sponsor allocates funding for a particular event and then it is diverted towards another programme then it is not being used for the intended purpose, but this time around it will be a must that it should be held.”
Reacting to the development, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said: “It is a good development that the sponsors [government] will not divert funds meant for the Presidential Cup to the Flames. It is my understanding that the sponsors have made arrangements to fully cater for the national team to participate in  Africa Cup of Nations and the  World Cup qualifiers this year.
“We are on the receiving end and the sponsors have the final say. As our parent we will always come to them for rescue in the event of funds running out and we cannot dictate allocation of funds because we have no control over the source.”
Asked why FAM does not prioritise on engagements to ensure that such major programmes are not affected, the FAM boss said: “The Presidential Cup is prioritised on our football calendar, but it has not taken place due to funding. We have subsequently lost out on the competition and the clubs have not benefited.
“For instance, last year we submitted a proposed budget of K300 million [600 000] for the 2015 Afcon qualifiers and following discussions with Sports Council, it was reduced to around K197 million [394 000) and we went ahead to take part in the tournament on the understanding that government would allocate us that much, but in the end we were stranded as not all that funding was released,” said Nyamilandu.