The document highlights on corruption and abuse of football resources in Africa and particularly in Malawi by the Football authorities. The paper seeks relevant authorities
to investigate and redress the malpractices in Malawi.
Cases of corruption, abuse of football resources and clinging to power are very common in African Football Associations. It is high time that FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) start putting measures which will prevent abuse of office by Africa Football Associations.
It is very difficult to ascertain whether FIFA audit African Football Associations on
how they use the funding they receive. Most African Governments are entangled in their own corruption webs and are not interested in the corruption which happens in football management and finances. Without checks and balances in place, Government officials and Football Associations usually connive in abusing FIFA financial resources. Lack of transparency and abuse of financial resources are some of the factors that have caused lowering standards of football across the African continent since the inception of multiparty democratic governments in Africa in early 1990s.
While FIFA is strict that African governments should not interfere in football management, it has not prevented members of African Football Associations in dragging football into politics. Football Association presidents have prolonged their football tenure using political influences with some even mixing party politics and football to the amazement of former football legends who are left helpless in the cold unable to prevent these malpractices in football.
The document will highlight corruption, abuse of office and resources by African Football Associations and in particular, the Football Association of Malawi. The document seeks relevant bodies mentioned in the document to find solutions to remedy the malpractices that have been occurring at the Football Association of Malawi.
The first point of abuse and corruption in Football Associations in Africa is the electoral process of the office bearers. The elections are marred with vote buying, manipulation and other corrupt practices. In 2014 FIFA cancelled the re-election of Cuthbert Dube as the President of the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA), citing irregularities that included
claims of vote-buying and manipulation. Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Issa Hayatou who has been in-charge of CAF for over 28 years, in 2013 barred other contestants in a CAF election in Marrakech Morocco. Another dubious rule to remove 70-year limit for members of CAF was deliberately adopted to ensure that Hayatou continues at the helm of CAF beyond 2017.
Other cases of corruption were witnessed in Kenya, where sports media in Kenya reported that top candidates were denied access to delegates in the preparation for the Kenya Football Federation (KKF) elections. The incumbent KFF leadership corruptly consolidated the quest to win the elections by paying for the delegates’ transport and providing room and board in hotels watched by the candidates’ henchmen right until they went to vote. In 2004, FIFA had to intervene in Kenyan football administration while the Sports Minister Najib Balala also tried to end these corrupt practices by ordering the anti-corruption police to guard against any bribery and manipulation of the guests.
Football in Malawi and Africa as a whole is suffering under these corruptlyelected officials because they have an eye on other things – such as politics, abusing football funds and amassing of wealth (See Appendix, Exhibit II and III). As a result, there is a chronic lack of professionalism in the management of the game. This explains why football standards have gone down despite FIFA sending a lot of funds to African Football Associations.
In fact, long time ago when there was no FIFA funding in African football, the standards of football were high as football was run by former football legends who used to run football out of passion. The coming of FIFA funding in African football has attracted every corrupt Jim and Jack who transforms themselves as ‘football administrators’ abusing these funds while using the ‘change’ to buy and prolong their grip on power in football maladministration. This explains why the FIFA money has not translated into football development but has rather brought football regression and underdevelopment in Africa.
In Kenya, a 2015 report by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), led to the investigation of the Kenya Football Federation (KFF) President Sam Nyamweya and some government ministers on corruption practices. The Football Association President in Kenya and government ministers were all implicated and suspended for the embezzlement of
football funds. Sam Nyamweya, the Football Association President in Kenya and his executive in 2013, could not account for more than US$410,146 received between November 2011 and December 2012.
In Zambia, Kalusha Bwalya, the former President of the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) was investigated by the country’s anti-corruption authorities over US$80,000 he said was received during the 2011 FIFA Congress in Qatar in the name of the FAZ but was paid into his personal account.
Football Association of Malawi
In Malawi, the Football Association has been involved in different corrupt practices which have been ignored because of several reasons:
As per the constitution of the Football Association of Malawi (FAM), it is only the Football affiliates who can vote during the Football Association of Malawi election of office bearers. These affiliates are compromised as they are offered monetary incentives and better positions to vote for the current President of the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and his cronies.
Basically, football has been highjacked by a syndicate who cover each other’s back to prolong their grip on power in their quest to continue plundering football resources behind FIFA’s back.
The elections are not free and fair as they are conducted in the atmosphere where other contestants are not given the same leverage to compete with the incumbent who has been in power for over 15 years.
There is no transparency on how the annual FIFA funding is used by Football Association of Malawi (FAM). FAM gets US$2 million which is not audited by independent credible auditors. FAM as a public body is supposed to be transparent and accountable as the FIFA funding is intended to develop football in the country which involves football players
and the public.
Without the football players and the football fraternity, FIFA cannot fund the Football Association of Malawi, so it is imperative that their financial report be made available to all football stake holders. FAM has not released its financial report for years to the public to show how they have been using the FIFA funding. FAM also receives funding from the
government through the Ministry of Sports and Malawi National Council of Sports and that money comes from public taxes that is why FAM should be investigated on all the financial abuses that have been happening at their offices.
The FIFA funding which comes in foreign currencies is received through the Reserve Bank of Malawi and FAM maintains their bank accounts at the FDH bank.
Football Association of Malawi has been employing coaches for Malawi National Teams at under 17, 20, and 23 on temporary basis without following proper recruitment procedures like advertising followed by fair interviews.
Other Football Associations like Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) follow proper procedures to recruit these coaches i.e. placing adverts in public medias and they conduct fair interviews before employing the successful candidates (See Appendix, Exhibit II). On the contrary Football Association of Malawi employ these coaches behind the doors on temporary basis and these coaches (including the Malawi National women Team coach) are not paid salaries but only allowances.
It is imperative that investigations also be made to find out if FIFA is aware that these coaches were not receiving salaries. Coaches who have worked in these capacities
can testify if the investigations are launched.
FAM dragging Football into Politics
While FIFA clearly states that football should be separated from politics and that governments and politicians should not interfere in football, the trend happening in Africa now is the opposite with football administrators deliberately dragging football into politics to forge political ties that can help prolong their football tenure in the offices.
In Malawi, top officials of Football Association of Malawi (FAM) have for a long time dragged football into politics with some senior members of the Executive openly campaigning for ruling political parties at political mass rallies or in the streets wearing party
These kind of party allegiances have equipped top FAM officials with political muscle which they even use to intimidate those in football circles who challenge their corrupt football governance. FAM has for a long time used the former ruling party (which is now out of power) to stifle any attempt or challenge from any football aspiring leaders. In some cases, FAM has used political hooligans to intimidate or physically harass those campaigning for opposition candidates during FAM elections.
COVID-19 Funds from FIFA
As the football season was abruptly halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FIFA is sending funding in blocks of US$500,000 to Football Association of Malawi specifically to assist football players among other welfare issues. There has not been any transparency and accountability on how these FIFA funds, aka Football COVID19 money, have been used. It is alleged that football authorities in Malawi bought packets of soya-pieces and other cheap food items such as bags of maize to issue to football players.
The is no transparency on the procedure the football authorities used to procure these food items and what criteria they used to find out if these food stuffs were actually what the football players or their families needed. It is certain that these decisions were arrived at without consultations with the stakeholders on their needs as not every player and their family consume soy-pieces which is one of cheapest meals in Malawi.
The Office of the Ombudsman had to investigate the Ministry of Health in Malawi because of allegations of abuse of foreign aid COVID-19 funds intended for the pandemic problems. It is in the same vein that this dossier asks the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate the Football Association of Malawi on how they have been using foreign funds from FIFA for the same purpose of COVID-19 issues among football players in Malawi.
In April 2020 FAM claimed that it was setting up a relief fund of close to 474,000 USD (350 million Malawian Kwacha) to support players and officials for monthly stipends during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those to benefit from the Special Fund were Super League club players and team officials, Women’s Football Regional League Teams and Elite Referees. FAM was also to bail out its Member Associations by increasing the yearly subventions to
Member Associations that receive direct funding from FAM by 50 percent.
“FAM will offer monthly stipends to the above-mentioned beneficiaries of not less than minimum wage as prescribed by Malawi Government. We will pay individual beneficiaries direct to their personal accounts between June and July,” said Nyamilandu during a media briefing. (CAF online, 30 April 2020).
As the previous Government was corrupt and the Ombudsman investigated the Ministry of Health on how they used the COVID-19 money, it is also important that the Office of the Ombudsman conduct investigation on how the COVID-19 funding has been used by the Football Association of Malawi.
Bribery and Vote Buying by Football Association of Malawi
There are serious allegations of vote buying and bribery by the Football of Malawi leadership to the extent that FAM leadership bought plasma TVs, cars and other things for members of the voting affiliates in Lilongwe in order for them to vote for the incumbent Football Association of Malawi president in the elections conducted recently. Sometime back when other affiliates clearly showed that they would not for the incumbent FAM president, FAM moved the venue of the elections to Mangochi somewhere very far to prevent those opposition affiliates from attending the elections.
Those affiliates who showed that they would not vote for the incumbent president were not provided with transport and they failed to travel to the election venue. FAM then provided transport and accommodation to those affiliates they bribed to vote for the incumbent FAM president.
The Illegal Dissolution of Beach Soccer Executive
The Football Association of Malawi (FAM) dubiously dissolved the Executive of Malawi Beach Soccer during the recent FAM elections without proper reasons. The Malawi Beach Soccer were one of the few affiliates which did not vote for the incumbent FAM president and this did not go well with FAM leadership. Malawi Beach Soccer refused to be corruptly bought by the FAM syndicate to vote for the incumbent FAM president. In reaction the FAM top leadership bulldozed changes at Malawi Beach Soccer forcing them to conduct dubious elections in which they replaced the former Executive with their puppets.
The Chairman and the General Secretary of the Malawi Beach Soccer were some of the upright top Executive members who were replaced by cronies of FAM leadership. This is very unfortunate as Malawi Beach Soccer was one of the few most progressive affiliates who refused to be corrupted by FAM.
Unfair Treatment of Affiliates who do not support FAM President
Football Association of Malawi has victimised members of those affiliates who did not want to vote for the FAM President to extend his tenure of office in the recent elections. The football authorities made it clear that it would not support those affiliates who were not behind the incumbent FAM president. FAM withheld all the items that were supposed to be issued to the Referees Association of Malawi to deliberately punish those individuals
who were against the extension of office of tenure by the FAM President.
All members of the Referees Association of Malawi were ordered to go in person to collect their own sports equipment at the FAM offices. Those who were labelled rebels were not issued their equipment citing childish reasons that their kit sizes were out of stock at FAM. Some referees are denied officiating important matches as part of their punishment while others are not picked for refresher courses.
Journalists who are very critical of the Football Association of Malawi and its leadership are not picked to cover important international matches involving Malawi national teams in foreign countries. FAM has a long list of puppet journalists under its payroll who are rewarded with bribes and foreign trips to cover international football matches and tournaments involving Malawi in foreign countries.
The sports media has to a greater extent, played a role in the corruption and deterioration of football in Malawi by failing to report the corruption and financial abuse in football management by the Football Association of Malawi. Sports journalists have been beneficiaries of bribes and other incentives like allowances from FAM when they travel with the Malawi National Team. This compromises their objective reporting of football mismanagement as they are also the beneficiaries of the same rot happening at the Football Association of Malawi.
Conflict of Interest
The Football Association of Malawi President Walter Nyamilandu is operating a personal football academy which is personally run by him. It is very important to investigate what resources he uses to run his football academy as the academy uses same kind of equipment that the Football Association of Malawi acquires from FIFA and other football donors. It is very likely that there are issues of conflict of interest and mismanagement of sports equipment in the running of this personal football academy.
Why Should the Anti-Corruption Bureau investigate the Football Association of Malawi
Looking at how the anti-corruption bodies investigated the corrupt practices in Zambia and Kenya as explained in the background, it is very important that the Malawi Anti-Corruption Bureau take the same steps in Malawi especially looking that the incumbent FAM President has stayed in power for almost 20 years heading the Football Association of Malawi. His
failure to relinquish power clearly shows that he is still there to protect and hide the alleged corrupt practices that have been happening at FAM.
FIFA needs to investigate thoroughly the abuse of Office by the Football Association of Malawi on the reasons cited in this paper. FIFA also needs to step in like what happened in Ghana when they monitored the elections of the new Football Association chief in Ghana in 2018. On 7th June 2018, the Football Association in Ghana was dissolved with immediate effect according to the Minister of Sports Isaac Kwame Asiamah who reported the uncovering of corruption malpractices. A new football President, Kurt Okraku was elected on in October 2019 under the supervision of FIFA Normalisation Committee.
It is our hope that all the stakeholders mentioned in this dossier take this matter seriously and push for the investigation of how Malawi football is run by Football Association of Malawi and take stern measures in order to reverse the rot that has marred Malawi football for a long time. A copy of this dossier has also been sent to different relevant bodies that are deemed
to have the capacity to remedy and bring sanity to football administration in Malawi.
Copies have not been sent to the Ministry of Sports or the Malawi National Council of Sports as these bodies have passively witnessed the abuse of football funds in Malawi without taking serious measures to stop the malpractices as they were done in Zambia, Ghana and Kenya.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :