In a series of unfortunate developments, the grand plans envisioned by the Football Association of Maldives (FAM) in partnership with South Korea’s Sky Wind Global have crumbled, casting a shadow of uncertainty over the nation’s football infrastructure and prospects.

Back in March 2020, a significant US$17 million agreement was inked between the FAM and Sky Wind Global, a deal which was anticipated to pave the way for transformative projects. The most significant of these ventures was a 20-storey building slated to replace the current FAM office location, a structure envisioned as the centrepiece of the agreement.

However, the dream of this impressive edifice and accompanying projects has faded. One of the significant endeavours included in the Sky Wind Global partnership was a four-storey indoor football arena in the Maafannu stadium area. Additionally, plans were laid out for the construction of 20 stadiums across 20 regions of the country, an initiative that aimed to promote grassroots football and engage local communities.

The initial excitement surrounding these initiatives, however, has given way to a reality of halted progress and unfulfilled promises. Despite the advanced stages, including publicised drawings of the towering office building, the project failed to take off the ground. This setback resulted in the FAM’s relocation from its existing premises to facilitate the impending construction, only for the situation to take an unexpected turn.

In a surprising twist, the project’s principal backer, Sky Wind Global, the company affiliated with the controversial K-Park Residences project, expressed an unwillingness to continue the endeavour. The ambitious plan for the 20-storey office building, which was touted as a pivotal element of the FAM’s future, now hangs in limbo.

“The project is stalled,” admitted FAM President Bassam Adeel Jaleel, reflecting on the collapsed partnership with Sky Wind Global. He recounted how a monumental press conference had marked the agreement’s announcement, yet today the project lay in ruins, mirroring the troubled state of the company involved.

Consequently, the FAM finds itself at a crossroads, grappling with the aftermath of shattered expectations and dwindling financial prospects. The envisioned network of stadiums, indoor football arena, and the towering office building have all faded into uncertainty, leaving a void in the association’s plans.

In a bid to salvage the situation, the FAM has adjusted its approach, now contemplating a more modest six-storey FAM office building. The association is exploring the possibility of funding this endeavour through FIFA projects, aiming to realign its priorities and seek stability through alternative means.

While the FAM’s intentions remain steadfast, a glaring absence of specific timelines for project initiation underscores the uphill battle the association faces. Adding to the complexities, the FAM had unveiled a list of 17 islands earmarked for field construction during a press conference with Sports Minister Ahmed Mahloof in May. However, any developments have yet to materialise on these islands, and construction has begun on some other islands, funded by the government.

As the dust settles on these disheartening turn of events, the FAM finds itself at a critical juncture. The challenges ahead are substantial, and stakeholders and football enthusiasts alike await tangible progress, the association’s ability to navigate these hurdles will ultimately shape the trajectory of Maldives’ football future.