FAM has failed to meet its Presidential Cup participating teams target by over half as less than 1 000 teams of the targeted 2 000 have registered for this year’s competition.
This year’s budget for the tournament was pegged at K71 million (about $177 500) which is K11 million (about $27 500) than the allocated K60 million (about $150 000) and the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) was hoping to raise the deficit through registration fees that was hiked to K5 000 (about $12.50) from last year’s K1 000 (about $2.50) at district level.
However, FAM competitions manager Casper Jangale played down fears that the development will have a negative effect on the running of the competition.
“Of course, the initial target was to have 2 000 teams take part in the tournament, but by the cut-off point, slightly less than 1 000 teams had registered.
“This can be attributed to the increased registration fees, but the move was justified looking at current high cost of living.
“Nevertheless, we are optimistic that we’ll still be able to manage because the fewer the number of participating teams, the less the costs of running the tournament,” said Jangale.
He added: “I think it will be even easier for us to operate because of the reduced number of participating teams.”
Jangale said over 300 teams each from the South and Centre had registered and about 100 teams from the North.
FAM last week justified the 400 percent registration fee hike at district level, saying it was done to meet the high cost of living that has seen the budget of the competition soaring to K71 million (about $177 500) from K60 million (about $150 000).
Former Youth and Sports minister Symon Vuwa-Kaunda last week asked for government’s intervention, arguing that the hike defeats the whole purpose of the Presidential Initiative on Sports (PIS) as the revised fee was prohibitive.
“FAM might have had a point by increasing the registration fees, but then it defeats the whole concept of the PIS concept which was to encourage as many teams as possible to take part in the tournament so as to identify and develop talent from the grass roots.
“The [K5 000] fee is prohibitive and I appeal for government’s intervention; otherwise, this year’s tournament will not meet the intended purpose as only a few teams will register. We also have to consider the current economic situation and K5 000 (about $12.50) at district level is too much. Maybe if they [FAM] had maintained the K1 000 fee,” said Vuwa-Kaunda.
The former minister said being the sponsors of the tournament, government needs to intervene on the situation as FAM only run the competition on their behalf.
His successor Enoch Chihana promised to look into the issue, but it would appear that FAM stood its ground.
The tournament kicked off at the weekend.