The Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has played down fears on the prospects of the country facing sanctions from Fifa in the wake of government’s direct involvement in the issue of Flames coaching panel.
Fifa statutes reject any government interference in the autonomy of football federations and have led to a number of conflicts and suspensions.
FAM chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda was responding to a question on whether government’s involvement in the issue of coach Kinnah Phiri, his deputy Young Chimodzi and technical director Jack Chamangwana might be viewed as direct interference into football matters.
“This is a different scenario because government are coming in because they sponsor the coaching panel’s pay. The coaches are government employees.
“We looked at all those aspects and our conclusion is that based on the circumstances, we do not think Fifa can view it as government interference,” said Nyirenda.
Malawi’s Principal Secretary II in the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Justin Saidi, also played down such fears, saying there is no government interference.
“I think it would have been government interference if we were imposing decisions on the association.
“But in this particular case, we are coming in as an interested party since these are our employees and they enjoy government benefits. So, we have to make sure that proper procedures are followed in accordance with the Employment Act,” said Saidi.
However, responding to a questionnaire from Nation Online, Fifa’s media office stated that there could be an element of government interference depending on government’s approach.
“We will have to find out how government comes in and then make a determination as to whether it is interfering with football matters.
“The fact that they called for a hearing is an intrusion, but in the end, it will depend on their role. However, as at now we have not looked into the issue yet,” reads part of Fifa’s response.
FAM recently recommended the firing of the entire Flames coaching panel, but Youth and Sports Minister Enoch Chihana ordered that the trio should be heard in accordance with the Employment Act, which demands that employees recommended to be fired must defend themselves from the accusations levelled against them.
The hearing started on Monday at Sports Council offices. Kinnah is supposed to be heard on Friday.
Article 9 of Fifa statutes, on financing and appointments reads: The association shall appoint the national technical director, the national coaches and the administrative, technical and medical staff.
“In the event that the government body responsible for sport assumes full responsibility for the salaries, social security contributions and other staff payments, the association shall fill these posts in consultation with said body. Staff shall be appointed on the basis of an employment contract between the association and the employee.
“A clause in the contract shall set its duration, objectives, respective obligations, remuneration and any other material benefits.”