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Covid-19 relief funds awaits Fifa approval

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Alfred Gunda

Malawi (Fam) will wait for Fifa’s approval to re-direct U$474,000 (about K350 million) meant for projects to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on football fraternity in the country.

Fam’s taskforce that was established to determine the impact of the coronavirus recommended diverting of the money to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

Initially the Fifa funds were normal allocation to Fam that is meant to, among other activities, help projects like coaching courses, grassroots leagues and referees refresher courses.

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Should Fifa approve the redirection of the funds, it means there will be no coaching courses, refresher courses for referees and no grassroots league this year.

But Fam General Secretary Alfred Gunda said it was difficult to disclose which projects would suffer.

“At the moment, we cannot tell which projects will be overridden by the relief fund of the Covid-19. We will also rework on some of the projects to ensure that projects have not been affected,” Gunda said.

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Fam is expected to get the funding for the interventions Fifa Special Projects funds. The association gets U$2 million (about K1.4 billion) through the Fifa Forward Programme every year.

But football analysts have advised Fam to tread carefully on the disbursement of the funds.

Football local analyst George Chiusiwa said the association should make sure all aspects of the game are protected.

“While the priority of Fam is to assist those affected by the pandemic, they should also make sure that other aspects of the game should not suffer. Fam should tread carefully and should try to have alternatives to source funds for capacity building of the coaches, referees and other stakeholders,” he said.

Some local coaches were expected to upgrade their qualifications this year but the course has been put on hold due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Renowned football analyst, George Kaudza-Masina also shared similar sentiments to Chiusiwa.

“Although it is ideal to support the elite players during the Covid-19 pandemic time but we should not forget supporting all stakeholders. I can see that the funds will only benefit few individuals while majority will suffer,” Kaudza- Masina said.

The association has set up a relief fund of K350 million to help Super League players, team officials and Women’s Football Regional League teams and elite referees so that they should support their families.

Apart from supporting the players and officials, Fam also announced that it will bail out member associations by increasing the annual subventions to member associations that receive direct funding from Fam by 50 percent through the operations fund.

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