The Myanmar Football Federation (MFF) will begin providing monthly stipends of 50,000 kyat (US$50) to selected retired national team players as from next month.
Aye Maung Gyi, who played midfield for Burma in the 1960s and 70s and is now central executive officer of Zwekapin United FC, said the MFF recently selected 65 medallists from a shortlist of players over age 65. Each has represented Burma in either the Asian Games, the Southeast Asian Games or a tournament such as the Merdeka Cup, he said.
Khin Maung Htwe, a well-known sports columnist, welcomed the move and urged other sports bodies to provide similar stipends to retired national athletes, many of whom live out their senior years in financial hardship.
“While it would be burdensome for the government to provide welfare to every retired national athlete, I think other sports bodies such as the Myanmar Track and Field Federation should look after their medal winners,” Khin Maung Htwe said, suggesting 100,000 kyat per month as a sum that would allow retirees to make ends meet.
The footballers will begin receiving their stipends, sponsored by business tycoons Aung Ko Win and Zaw Zaw, at the end of February.