The yet-to-be implemented players’ medical scheme could be thrown into disarray as some clubs are opposing a deal in which Super League of Malawi (Sulom) approved the Medical Aid Society of Malawi (Masm) to provide health insurance cover.
Through the two-year agreement, all the 16 Super League clubs are supposed to subscribe to Masm, with an accumulative monthly premium of K64 000 for 30 players.
But in an interview on Friday, after the just-ended season failed to see the medical scheme project taking off, Silver Strikers general secretary Thabo Chakaka-Nyirenda said the Masm deal limits clubs from getting best deals from other medical scheme providers.
“It is not only Masm which offers these services. There are some companies that can offer similar services at negotiable costs. I can assure you that Silver will not be part of this deal,” he said.
Nyirenda also said forcing teams to subscribe to Masm was promoting unfair trade practices which a free economy like Malawi discourages’.
He said: “If Sulom insists that all the teams must join Masm, it may face fines from the branches that promote fair trade. I don’t think Sulom is ready to risk that.”
Nyirenda added that his club will instead insure its players with an insurance firm that will be able to compensate the players whose careers have been cut short because of injuries.
“The problem with the Masm and Sulom agreement is that it is not comprehensive in the sense that it only helps players to get treatment when they are injured. Silver want to look at a larger picture. We want to buy an insurance policy that will see our players that have lost their careers due to injury, get meaningful compensation,” he said.
Meanwhile, Premier Bet Wizards owner Peter Mponda has also backed Silver’s stand, saying Sulom should just enforce mandatory medical cover for all players rather than entering into Masm deal.
“The current set-up means no matter how uncomfortable the clubs are with the conditions, they will be forced to be in the Masm deal. This is not fair,” he said.
Mponda was, however, non-committal on whether his club will subscribe to the Masm-Sulom pact.
“Let’s wait and see what Sulom has up its sleeve next season. Otherwise, we feel that Sulom rushed to enter into the agreement,” he said.
But Sulom general secretary Williams Banda has hit back at the deal’s critics, saying Masm was approved at the annual general meeting (AGM) last year, therefore, it does not make sense to oppose it now.
“We chose Masm because it is approved by most health facilities. Again it is cheap because we are doing it as a group. Those that are opposing it do not know what they are talking about,” he said.
Banda also claimed that the teams are not being forced to subscribe to Masm, saying they can go for other service providers as long as they provide evidence.
“If they want to partner with other firms, they can do so. Our key interest is that the players should be on medical scheme.”
On the contrary, Masm chief executive officer Sydney Chikoti insisted that they would only offer the services to Super League players if all the teams subscribe.
“The deal we signed was that all Super League teams must be involved. This is why, when only five teams signed the registration forms last season, we refused to activate the services,” he said. n