A proposal that Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and Netball Association of Malawi (FAM) should get direct funding from the National Assembly has been shot down as it is against government regulation..
Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development says it is not possible for FAM and NAM to get funding through their own vote as they are not government agencies.
Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Welfare in February backed FAM’s proposal that the National Assembly should start supporting football directly rather than through the Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) vote as is the case in other countries such as Zambia..
The committee’s chairperson Richard Chimwendo Banda on Tuesday confirmed having compiled a report which recommended the changes in the financing arrangement to be adopted for the 2019/2010 fiscal year.
“That’s what we indeed agreed and in our budget preparations we also recommended the same to the sports ministry,” he said.
However, director of sports Jameson Ndalama said government’s regulations do not allow private organisations to have their own vote.
“Associations are like private institutions, as such, it is against government regulations for FAM and NAM to get direct funding, unless Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development changes its regulations. For them [FAM and NAM] to get direct funding, it would mean the associations should have their own vote and the money would go directly into their accounts which is not possible.
“Otherwise, auditors would query us if we did that,” he said.
Ndalama said FAM and NAM would continue getting funding through MNCS vote.
FAM proposed the direct funding early this year when the Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Welfare summoned the association to a hearing over challenges facing the national team and football in general.
Addressing the meeting which comprised parliamentarians, FAM and government representatives, the local football governing body’s president Walter Nyamilandu said football standards are poor in the country because football does not receive enough support from government.
Nyamilandu expressed surprise at the ministry’s stance, saying all the parties at the meeting agreed to the proposal.
He said: “This is rather surprising. From what we gather, the officials in the ministry of sports would need to formalise the process with the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development. Parliament assured us that they would support direct funding based on the merits that were in the table.
He pleaded with all the concerned parties to push for the change in regulations.
“This was strategic intervention that was agreed upon by all parties having noted that funding of the Flames was not adequate enough to realise our ambition of turning the national team into a powerhouse on the continent and beyond. It, therefore, depends on goodwill of all those involved and our aspiration as a nation towards the Malawi national football team.”
Ndalama, however, said National Assembly can scrutinise how much money football and netball is getting.
“In the past, football and netball did not appear anywhere in the Malawi National Council of Sports budget. What will happen now is that the National Assembly can check if football and netball have enough money. Let’s say if FAM has asked for K500 million in their budget, National Assembly can check if indeed they have been allocated that money,” he said.
Currently, FAM receives the grants from the National Budget through Sports Council, which are meant for the senior men’s national team only.
For the past three years, FAM’s Flames budget has been pegged at around K1 billion, but only less than K300 million has been handed to the association.
A comparative analysis of some sub-Saharan national football teams funding, which FAM presented during the hearing, shows that the Flames are the least funded in the region.
The Chipolopolo of Zambia, get $2.8 million (about K2.1 billion), Kenya’s Harambee Stars receive $3.8 million (about K3 billion) while South Africa’s Bafana Bafana expenditure stands at $8 million (about K6 billion).
The report also showed massive gaps in players’ incentives. A Malawi national team player, it says, pockets K30 000 for a win, while Zambian player carts home $3 500 (about K2.5 million), a Kenyan takes home $2 500 (about K1.8 million) while a South African footballer earns $5 000 (about K3.6 million).