* Reminds team of its signed commitment to adhere to Club Licensing regulations
* As well as the 2021 FDH Cup Rules and Regulations
* Withdrawal shall be liable to a fine of K2 million and ban from any competition organised for one year
* It is compulsory for each Super League team to participate in the competition
* Northern Region refs announce officiation at Karonga Stadium fearing for their lives
By Duncan Mlanjira
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has reminded Karonga United that they signed a commitment to adhere to Club Licensing regulations as well as the 2021 FDH Cup Rules and Regulations and the governing body says it will proceed to schedule the match at Mzuzu Stadium on Saturday, June 26 at 14:30hrs.
On Tuesday, Karonga United wrote a scathing letter to FAM, saying they are deeply enraged that FAM decided to shift their FDH Bank Cup Round of 32 home encounter with Mighty Wanderers to Mzuzu Stadium and also announced its withdrawal from the competition.
In its response, FAM says they expect Karonga United to respect the decision to change the match venue and underlined it was done in the best interest of the competition as guided by the Competition’s Rules and Regulations after noting that Karonga Stadium is not in good condition to hold an elite match as per the FAM Club Licensing standards and FAM CoVID-19 football re-start guidelines, after it was vandalised on Sunday, June 20.
“Withdrawing from the Competition at this level is not allowed and doing so attracts heavy sanctions as per article 4 of the 2021 FDH Cup Rules and Regulations which includes a year-long ban from all association football competitions in Malawi.
“FAM hereby advises that it will proceed to schedule the match at Mzuzu Stadium on Saturday 26th June 2021 at 14:30 hours and we expect all the concerned parties to follow the match programme as per the Rules and Regulations,” says the response signed by general secretary, Alfred Gunda.
Meanwhile, Northern Region Referees Committee has written Super League of Malawi (SULOM) that to announce announce its boycott to officiate matches at Karonga Stadium, saying they fear for their lives.
In a letter, the refs refers to the incident that took place last Sunday between Karonga United and Silver Strikers at Karonga Stadium where the designated match officials, Mercy Kaira, Samuel Fudzulani, Harrison Simbeye and Stammy Msukwa were beaten.
The refs also cite previous incidents not mentioned in the communication to SULOM but which were discussed at their committee meeting where “the resolution was made that there is no security/safety in most games — the latest being mentioned herein”.
Thus the referees boycottKaronga Stadium until SULOM addresses their security and safety issues, saying if the situation is left unattended to urgently, Referees risk losing their lives.
There had been reports of harassment on visiting teams and intimidation of refs at Karonga Stadium and in the match against Silver Strikers, fans reportedly hurled insults at centre referee, Mercy Kaira to the extent she broke down in tears.
However, Karonga United are unperturbed of these developments and are deeply enraged with FAM and even targeted at sponsors, FDH Bank that they “also have a role to play in ensuring good decisions are made in the administration of the Cup”.
In the letter from the club’s chairman, Mathews Tulombolombo says there are many fans in Karonga “who are customers with FDH Bank in Karonga — they need also to benefit from such kind of initiatives” and threatens that “no matter how small we are, we have powers to mobilize our people for a cause”.
According to FAM, among others, “the stadium’s perimeter fence and main access gates were vandalised and would make it impossible for the match organisers to protect the players and technical officials, control access into the stadium and enforce CoVID-19 preventive measures”.
“With the match just four days away, we are of the view that the damages cannot be renovated for re-inspection and re-certification, as per the FAM Club Licensing regulations, in time for the said match.”
According to the 2021 FDH Cup Rules and Regulations, if any team withdrawals from the competition at national level, it shall be liable to a fine K2 million and in addition, the team shall be banned from participating in any competition organised by FAM or any of its affiliate bodies — including the TNM Super League — for a period of one year.
“As per Club Licencing Conditions it is compulsory for each Super League team to participate in the competition,” say the Rules and Regulations. Currently Karonga United are 5th in TNM Super League table.