Administrative chaos at Big Bullets and Mighty Wanderers will never end unless their constitutions are revised to clearly define specific roles of their respective supporters, analysts have observed.
The constitutions of the two rival clubs only give prominence to duties of executive committee members and trustees, but are not clear on the responsibilities of supporters.
Analysts believe it is this vagueness that leads to the supporters’ interference with the administration of the clubs; hence, the need for the teams to amend their constitutions during their forthcoming executive committee elections on February 22 and March 2, respectively.
In the entire 12-paged Bullets constitution, the supporters are only mentioned in Article 13.1 and 13.2 while in the 11-paged Wanderers’ document, the fans are mentioned in Article II (3). In both constitutions, the issue that is highlighted is that of the supporters’ membership to the clubs.
Reads Article 13.1 and 13.2 of Bullets’ constitution: “The supporters club shall be in each region of the country and the chairman shall be members of the board.
“A member of the supporters club is not a member of the club but he or she may become a member if he or she so desires and will be required to follow the normal procedure for membership as stated in this constitution.”
Wanderers’ statement on supporters reads: “[A member shall mean] a Wanderers FC supporter who has registered himself/ herself in any of the club’s four categories [bronze, silver, gold and platinum] as in Article II [b] above with the spirit of promoting the sport of football, recreation to the population and other interests associated with football.”
Outgoing Bullets executive committee chairperson Malinda Chinyama and his Wanderers counterpart George Chamangwana admitted that they had a horrible season last year trying in vain to control the interference of their supporters in administering the teams.
They argued that it is hard to take disciplinary action on such unruly fans because sometimes they are remote-controlled by untouchable “warlords” that deliberately want to stir confusions for their personal interests.
“We had a terrible season in 2013; the supporters could force themselves into doing the work of the executive members and it was difficult for us to control them because our constitution does not clearly explain the roles of the supporters. A constitutional review and enforcement would probably be the best remedy,” said Chinyama.
Bullets trustees general secretary Jim Kalua concurred with Chinyama, saying they plan to include in their statutes a well-explained article on the specific duties of the fans once their new executive committee is elected into office at their clubhouse in Blantyre.
Chamangwana said as executive committee members, they tried their best to nip the malaise in the bud but they failed because sometimes fans come up with serious threats to those that defy their demands.
“Unless we clearly define and enforce the roles each committee is supposed to play in the day-to-day operations of our clubs, things are going to graduate from bad to worse,” he said.
While confirming that their constitution clearly stipulates the roles of their fans, Silver Strikers general secretary Mike Tembo, said enforcing the regulation has been a major problem.
According to Tembo, whose team has been penalised along with Wanderers by Football Association of Malawi (FAM) following the fracas that claimed a life during their Super League encounter at the Balaka Stadium on December 28 2013, they have taken advantage of recent developments to be serious on enforcing the adherence to their guidelines.
But Blantyre United administrator Lawson Nakoma said clubs like his do not need a constitution for guidance on the duties of the supporters because they were established as private business entities and not associations as is the case with Bullets and Wanderers.
But football analyst Charles Nyirenda said the most important things that can help solve the problem of supporters’ meddling in administrative issues are to make sure all their supporters are registered members and to avoid the tendency of letting unregistered supporters vote during executive committee elections.
“In the past, things ran smoothly because there was a distinctive line between a real fan and a mere sympathiser. This became even worse when clubs started letting anyone believed to be a supporter to vote during executive committee elections,” he said.