Amid devastating consequences on social life due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the country’s football governing body in partnership with one of the country’s leading food producers, Rab Processors, has made arrangements to bail out players in the lower league.
Speaking at a joint press briefing on Monday morning FAM President Walter Nyamilandu and Rab Processors Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Sunka said they will distribute Relief Packs of assorted food items worth MK120 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.
According to FAM, 1,860 packs a month which translates to 13,020 packs for the duration of seven months.
“FAM has partnered with Rab Processors that has offered a “Value in Kind” contribution towards the COVID-19 Relief Packs. In addition, Rab Processors has undertaken to distribute the COVID-19 Relief Packs to the teams’ bases across the country.
“The funding of the COVID Relief Packs will come from the same budget of MK350 million that was previously announced. FAM will contribute K98 million while Rab Processors will cushion the rest of the costs,” said Nyamilandu.
He added that FAM has taken a phased approach in rolling out the Relief programme which was launched last week with the first phase targeting Super League players and officials.
“Realising that we have a lot of players that are engaged in organised football at all levels of the game, we decided to take a phased approach to rolling out relief support to the various leagues.
“This is 2nd phase which is targeting the bottom tier league having already catered for the top leagues of both males and females through the monthly stipend.
“This phased approach has largely been guided by a number of factors among them dependency on football as a source of living, state of players in the league as a breadwinner or dependent, opportunity of economic support system from outside football, added responsibility of the players in their homes and/or families, nature of the league – professional, semi-professional or amateur and risk risk exposure to economic survival and livelihood.
“FAM will continue to explore ways and means of how the relief support can be cascaded to other sectors of the football ecosystem. Depending on availability of funds, FAM will not hesitate to reach out and render a helping hand to those that are in dire straits,” said Nyamilandu.
In his remarks Sunka said they have been in talks with FAM to collaborate on an initiative that can help during this time of Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our contribution to this programme comes at a time when football players in the country are off the pitch as one measure of preventing the covid-19 pandemic that has held the world hostage from spreading further.
“This means that most of these players have no source of income as this is their livelihood. This initiative will lessen the plight that most players are going through by ensuring that they are healthy and strong as they train from home while also being able to share with their families,” said Sunka.
He added that Rab Processors cares about its customers and the things they care about such as football.
“We were also concerned with the welfare of our football players who are not playing at the moment so we thought that we should join with FAM to prepare them for the opening of the football season after Covid-19 has ended. we need to take care of our players now and not only when they are on the pitch,” he said.
As one of the conditions for the programme, all bona fide beneficiaries should be registered by their Clubs with their respective Associations and with FAM Mpira Connect by 16th May 2020.
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.
The total package for the Relief fund is K332.8 million, sourced from FAM’s FIFA Forward the projects fund.
The breakdown as follows: Super League teams- K140 million, Women’s Football- K73.5 million, Referees- K21.3 million and Regional Leagues Teams K 98 Million.
FAM has forgone some Special Projects programmes including FAM Football Academy, FAM Under 15 League, Grassroots Football, Trainings and Infrastructure development in Luwinga and Renovations at Chilomoni stadium