Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has downplayed calls by Drug Fight Malawi for Nyasa Tobacco Manufacturing Company to move out of Big Bullets sponsorship deal.
FAM General Secretary Suzgho Nyirenda told Nyasa Times that the organization made a mistake of rushing to the media without approaching the football body to discuss the sponsorship deal.
“They could at first approach us and find out why the tobacco manufacturing company or alcohol companies are involved in football sponsorship. In this kind of sponsorships, there are regulations as a football body we have to follow thats why FIFA gave us a go ahead,” he said.
Added Nyirenda: “For your own information, we struck the Nyasa Tobacco Manufacturing Company deal in March and started engaging FIFA the same month. We discussed until September when the world football governing body gave us a go ahead.”
He also hinted that in Malawi, there are a few companies willing to sponsor football teams and it was a mountain tall work to find the sponsorship.
Addressing a news conference in Lilongwe Drug Fight Malawi Executive Director Nelson Zakeyo said they consider the tobacco sponsorship of the Peoples Team, as Big Bullets is fondly called as a deliberate and well-orchestrated strategy of the Nyasa Tobacco Manucfacturing Company to market its products and increase tobacco consumption among children.
A recent statement from the world football governing body, but published by the World Health Organisation, stated that Fifa statutes do not give it authority to intervene in tobacco-related sponsorship.
“As much as Fifa actively discourages confederations, national associations, league, clubs and other organisers from accepting tobacco sponsorship, it cannot impose its own judgements upon them,” reads the statement.