Fines emanating from acts of hooliganism are taking a financial toll on some TNM Super League clubs.
In the latest development, Super League of Malawi (Sulom) has slapped Be Forward Wanderers with a K2 million fine for failing to control their supporters during their first round game against Nyasa Big Bullets on July 27 at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
The punishment comes barely days after the flagship league runners also fined Karonga United K1 million for a similar offence during the club’s match against Moyale Barracks at Karonga Stadium.
A letter addressed to the Nomads and signed by Sulom general secretary Williams Banda, which The Nation has seen, states that Wanderers supporters threatened and insulted match officials which brought the game into disrepute.
Reads part of the letter: “It was established that some Be Forward Wanderers supporters blocked the passage to the dressing room at half time [thereby] obstructing the officiating personnel from passing. [They also] threw stones onto the pitch and insulted the referee in the process.
“Be Forward Wanderers is, therefore, fined a sum of K2 million payable before their next official game.”
Reacting to the punishment, Nomads chairperson Gift Mkandawire yesterday said: “It’s too much for a team that is financially in turmoil. This is like killing a corpse. They should have been considerate.
“We are not condoning misbehaviour. I guess we can find better ways. These punishments have just left teams suffering while the perpetrators go free.”
His Karonga United counterpart Alufeyo Chipanga Banda also said the fine would further worsen their financial woes.
He said: “Already, we are struggling financially as we have no sponsors. But then we have no choice and hopefully it will serve as a lesson to our supporters that acts of hooliganism will cost their team dearly.
“We don’t even know where we will get the K1 million at a time we are struggling to raise players’ salaries.”
Silver Strikers have also been charged for similar offences in their first round home match against Wanderers while Moyale Barracks are being investigated on allegations that they beat up referee Stephano Gomani and a police officer at Mzuzu Stadium after their match against Savenda Chitipa United.
Last Saturday, some officials and players of Moyale were involved in a brawl with Sulom officials who were trying to defuse a commotion which arose after Moyale protested referee Chidziwitso Simbi’s decision to award Mlatho Mponela a penalty.
Commenting on the cases of misconduct, Mkandawire said: “The root cause is officiation in terms of incompetency and sometimes bias. Even more is the supporters’ interpretation of the rules. For instance, we see so many times in Europe a referee blowing a whistle seconds after an infringement and it’s normal, while here any delay leads to the whole stadium condemning the referee. So, it’s a combination of issues.”
Sulom president Tiya Somba Banda said some misunderstandings by other stakeholders are a result of ignorance of changes in the law.
“Therefore, it is apparent to the teams to sensitise their players, officials and supporters on these new rules to avoid the unfortunate incidents against the match officials.
“We will continue taking a leading role in providing the literature of the laws of the game together with the National Referees Association and the FA,” he said.
On his part, Sulom general secretary Williams Banda partly attributed the situation to the current environment of post-election violence, saying it has protracted the insurgency of violence.
“The current competition in the league could also be another factor [and] the only way out is constructive dialogue and enforcement of the law,” he said.