By Anye Nde Nsoh, Kick442.com
Contrary to the normal routine of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) paying financial entitlements to clubs participating in the CAF Champions league and Confederation Cup at the end of the season, the football body has decided to make an advanced payment to clubs.
This is due to the persistence of the Coronavirus pandemic which has led to the halting of leagues across the continent.
Some countries have eventually cancelled their leagues with champions declared while in some cases countries are hoping to continue when the virus is contained.
Due to the growing financial needs of clubs and the difficult times players and staff are undergoing, CAF has commenced distributing the final tranche of financial rewards to the 32 participating clubs that reached the group stages of the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup, 2019/2020, during these trying times.
“The world of football and for that matter African football is going through unprecedented difficulties,” CAF president Ahmad Ahmad said.
“The current situation has had a telling effect on African football stakeholders, and CAF is being responsive to the needs of our clubs, one of our key stakeholders, by facilitating the payment of their prize monies well ahead of time.”
Clubs will receive their entitlements till the quarterfinals level when competitions were suspended based on the establised dues.
The minimum payment for CAF Champions league is US$550,000 while that of the Confederation Cup is US$275,000. The final payment will be made at the end of the interclub season.
The body is still monitoring the situation of the virus in the continent while working with the World Health Organisation on the future of activities.
Players are all called upon to stay safe and prepare for the future.
In Malawi, the Football Association FAM has put in place a special Relief Fund as an economic relief for elite players and officials who rely on football in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among those that have benefited are Super League club players and team officials, Women’s Football Regional League teams and the elite referees.
When announcing the development, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said it will offer monthly stipends to these beneficiaries of not less than the minimum wage as prescribed by Malawi Government.
FAM has also partnered with Rab Processors to extend the association’s COVID-19 relief programme to regional leagues’ teams.
The two entities will distribute the relief packs of assorted food items worth K120 million to registered players and officials of all the Premier League teams in the three regional leagues for a duration of seven months with effect from 1st June.
Nyamilandu said the programme is targeting 62 teams with a maximum number of 25 players and 5 officials and each team will be getting 30 bespoke branded packs, valued at K10,000 each.
In total, FAM will distribute 1,860 packs a month which translates to 13,020 packs for the duration of seven months.
Rab Processors will distribute the COVID-19 relief packs to the teams’ bases across the country.
On the football calendar, that has been disrupted globally due to the pandemic, FAM says it is committed to host all football competitions as planned in the 2020 calendar once football resumes.
“However, bearing in mind that it is not yet known as to when football will resume, FAM has resolved that the season will only go ahead with some adjustments to the fixtures and allow the season to spill over to next year if the delay is within six months (April to September 2020).
“If the delay is of more than 6 months, that is October and beyond, the season will be considered to have been lost and FAM will start planning for another season which would start January 2021,” Nyamilandu had said.
On the corporate social responsibilities (CSR) on its shoulders because the game of football does not exist in a vacuum, the FA has offered Luwinga Technical Centre premises in Mzuzu to the Ministry of Health as a quarantine centre for COVID-19.
On top of that, FAM will collaborate with other partners on awareness campaign as well as resource mobilization to help in the fight against the COVID-19.
The source of funding for these interventions will come from FIFA Special Projects fund.
FAM has since set up a COVID Desk for administration of the relief programmes and will be led by the Competitions Director, Gomezgani Zakazaka, who will be available to handle any enquiries or queries related to the relief program.
FAM has sacrificed some Special Projects programmes including the FAM Football Academy, FAM Under-15 League, Grassroots Football, trainings and infrastructure development in Luwinga and renovations at Chilomoni stadium in order to meet these obligations.—Additional reporting by Duncan Mlanjira