The Football Association of Malawi (FAM) says the Bingu National Stadium (BNS) in Lilongwe has been closed for matches effective today.
In a press statement issued yesterday, the association says the stadium has been closed to enable the Ministry of Youth and Sports complete renovations of the facility to ensure that it meets minimum Fifa standards to host international matches.
Reads the statement in part: “You may recall that the Stadium has been inspected twice by CAF on behalf of Fifa in preparation for hosting of  World Cup qualifiers.
“According to the standard regulations for Fifa sanctioned matches, BNS requires to improve the quality of the pitch, technical benches, furnishing of change rooms, the VIP area, ablution facilities as well as remove permanent advertising at the stadium.”
It further says the ministry in conjunction with FAM have been working on the recommendations by CAF to improve the stadium standards
and have invested substantial amounts of resources towards the project this far.
“The ministry has further secured more resources to continue with the renovations of the facility as recommended by the CAF inspection report; hence, the need for temporary closure of the stadium pitch after the match between the Malawi National Women’s Football Team and Zambia on Wednesday 20th October 2021 in the 2022 Afcon Women’s Qualifiers.”
FAM also says it is aware that the public is not clear as to why the stadium was only banned for World Cup qualifiers, but it was open for other international matches, including CAF Champions League, Women’s Afcon qualifier, Women’s Under-20 World Cup and local competitions.
The statement said: “The explanation to this situation is that the standards of the World Cup games are the highest than those of CAF and all other games.
“However, Fifa uses CAF to inspect the stadiums on its behalf for logistical convenience. This created a lot of misunderstanding and the ministry is asking Fifa to change the approach for consistence of the standards of facilities for all international matches.
“However, it was resolved that the facility should be closed to any other football activity to give room and ample time for the Ministry of Youth and Sports to complete the renovations to bring the stadium to a level where FIFA will approve it for future FIFA matches.”
FAM says it will continue to work with the ministry in offering technical support to ensure that the works are properly carried out and completed so that elite football should return to the stadium.
FAM further says it has assurance from the ministry that the renovations will be completed “as soon as possible”.
In an interview yesterday, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said for the time being, high-profile local and international matches will be played at Kamuzu and Mpira stadiums in Blantyre.
“But we still have Civo, Silver and Nankhaka stadiums for local matchesin Lilongwe. That is the arrangement for now,” he said.