World football government body Fifa has introduced tough funding regulations in which member associations will be forfeiting a good chunk of funding if they do not participate in junior competitions.
The new regulations which are part of Fifa’s Forward 2.0 programme seek to ensure that member associations do not concentrate on senior national team at the expense of youth development.
Fifa funding for each member associations is at $1 million per year with $500 000 allocated to administration while another $500 000 is for specific activities.
“Such activities include organising men’s, women’s and youth competitions [two age groups for both girls and boys] and each competition should involve at least ten clubs for at least 90 matches and for at least six months each year; and having active men’s, women’s youth national teams, each one participating in at least four matches per year,” Fifa states in its communiqué to member associations.
Failure to fulfil the activities will lead to Fifa deducting $50 000 (about K37 million) from the special activities funding.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) general secretary Alfred Gunda confirmed the development, adding that Fifa is serious in promoting youth development.
“It’s a necessary evil. Fifa funds all these programmes for a purpose and they would like to see progress. If you have junior leagues such as Under-15, Under-17 and Under-20 programmes in both men and women’s football, you are fine. But further to that, they would also want to see progress in these programmes, hence you must participate in international competitions,” he said.
However, Gunda said the challenge is inadequate funding, since the money from Fifa cannot cover all the national teams participation in competitions.
“Each programme is allocated $50 000 [about K37 million] which is not enough and we cannot also use government funding because we prioritise the senior team.
“For example we got K300 million in the 2019/20 financial year. But we are participating in World Cup and Afcon qualifiers in which we will play 12 games home and away. Already the K300 million is not enough for the senior team,” he said.
Gunda, however, said FAM has tried to ensure that junior teams participate in major tournaments.
“That’s why you might have noted that of all our junior national teams both women’s and men’s, have been very active,” he said.
Last year Malawi Under-17 and Under-20 men’s teams participated in Cosafa competitions.
Women’s Under-17 and senior team also participated in Cosafa tournaments.
The Under-20 women’s team has just been knocked out from Women’s Under-20 World Cup after losing to Zimbabwe.