The COVID-19 outbreak late in 2019, has disrupted everyday activities around the world and been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. Football too has been affected, with football activities suspended in almost every country including Malawi. This is an unprecedented situation for football. There has not been a similar shutdown of organised football since World War I.
COVID 19 IN MALAWI
On 20th March 2019 President Peter Mutharika declared Corona virus (Covid-19) a national disaster as a measure to prevent new cases of the virus in the country. Soon after government’s declaration of COVID 19 as a national disaster the game, FAM followed suit and shutdown all association football activities i.e., competitive matches, training and meetings.
FA COVID 19 TASK FORCE
FAM Executive recognizes the urgent responsibility to safeguard the game of football beyond the pandemic. At the same time knowing that football does not exist in a vacuum the Association has a social responsibility to support government in whatever form in the fight against COVID 19 in Malawi.
The Association Executive Committee set up a COVID 19 taskforce which is headed by Mr. Chimango Munthali with Ms. Felister Dossi, Mr. Madalitso Kuyera and FAM CEO Alfred Gunda as members.
The two main objectives of the taskforce were:
- To conduct a quick situation analysis of the effects of COVID 19 on Malawi football.
- To draft recommendations on the football business continuity plan proposals to the Executive
Committee based on their consultations with some key stakeholders.
FAM COVID-19 Relief Fund
As a response to the effects of COVID 19 Pandemic on football and recommendation of the FAM COVID-19 Task Force, FAM Set up a FAM Relief fund worth K350 million from its own Project/Operation funds aimed at bailing out its stakeholders
The Fund was aimed at bailing out Super League club players and team officials, Women’s Football and Regional League Premier League Teams and Elite Referees for seven months between June and December 2020 as follows:
- FAM has been giving monthly stipends of K40,000 to 480 Super League players and 80 Super League team officials as well as 186 elite referees.
- FAM has also been giving food packs valued at K7,500 each to 1860 players and official from the three Regional Leagues and 630 players and officials from the 21 Regional Women’s teams.
- FAM has also for the past four months been giving out monthly subsidies of K275,000 a month to the 21 Women’s Football teams.
FIFA/ CAF COVID-19 RELEIF FUND
On 25th June 2020, The FIFA Council set up a FIFA COVID-19 Relief Fund to cushion its member Associations including FAM during these tough times.
The details of the fund are as follows:
- A universal solidarity grants of USD 1 million was made available to all FIFA member associations.
- The USD 1 million to be remitted in two instalments; USD 500,000 received in August 2020 and the other USD500,000 in January 2021.
- An additional grant of USD 500,000 is being allocated specifically to women’s football.
- All FIFA member associations will be able to apply for interest-free loans amounting to up to 35 per cent of their audited annual revenues. In the interest of solidarity, a minimum loan entitlement of USD 500,000 and a maximum loan entitlement of USD 5 million will be available.
- CAF also set aside a COVID-19 Relief fund for its members of USD300,000
FAM COVID RELIEF SECOND PHASE
In summary on October 1, 20202 FAM Unveiled a COVID-19 Relief Fund Second Phase of USD1.8 million of which USD1.5 million is from FIFA and USD 300,000.00 from CAF and has been distributed to all its key stakeholders as per the documents below.
FOOTBALL RESTART PLAN
Since March 20. When FAM suspended all football activities, the Association has been engaging government and its key stakeholders like Member Associations, Players, Media on the football Restarts Plan.
FAM came up with a Football Restart Road Map highlighting measurers to be put in place to ensure smooth return to Football in the safest Manner possible.
In October Government gave FAM the green light to return to football in phases starting with National Teams on September 21, 2020 and Elite Clubs from October 17. All other League wills start later.
The National Team played its first match against Zambia away in Lusaka on October 6 before hosting Zimbabwe at the Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
The New season is expected to start in November with the Charity Shield on 20 and the Super League on November 28.