Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has been faulted for sponsoring President Peter Mutharika’s nomination papers’ presentation on Friday to advertise the Rough Diamonds tournament held last weekend at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.
FAM sponsored on taxparer-funded MBC television and Radio One the live broadcast of Mutharika’s presentation of nomination papers to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) at Chichiri International Conference Centre in Blantyre.
Reacting to the development, former Be Forward Wanderers chairperson Humphreys Mvula condemned the association, saying it has put its integrity into question.
“FAM should not have done that whether for an opposition or party in government because the football body belongs to Malawians.
“They should always remain apolitical and colourless. But now they are guilty of partisan
. Why did they do it on Friday and not any other day?” he said.
Mvula said the association should admit its mistake.
“FAM seems to be in a tight corner why they did it. It’s important to accept that they goofed,” he said.
Former Silver Strikers general secretary Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda also said the soccer governing body should not have used the political event to advertise the tournament.
“It is ironic for FAM using clubs’ gate collections and funds for a political party’s event yet Fifa doesn’t allow politics in football as it is against Fifa statues,” he said.
Former FAM acting general secretary George Kaudza Masina said although the action was debatable there is nothing wrong.
“People might argue why not other parties, but it might be that FAM’s commercial department felt DPP function was good for visibility unlike other parties.
“Their budget might have been limited. People advsertise in different media channels based on a number of marketing decisions. It’s all about marketing strategy,” he said.
FAM commercial and marketing director Limbani Matola said they expected a backlash, but insisted that there was nothing wrong with the arrangement.
“We had hitches to advertise earlier as the executive committee only approved it on Friday. What we wanted was to capture maximum audience, attention and feedback which we managed.
“We knew it that there will be perception risks. We didn’t restrict MBC. With or without us advertising, they would still have done the live broadcast,” he said.
Matola also said privately-owned Times Media Group and Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) were contacted, but ZBS did not carry the advert after failing to agree with some of the terms. Matola, however, declined to disclose how much they paid saying: “It’s unethical to do that.”