Central Region Football Association (CRFA) suspended yesterday’s games in the Chipiku League’s Premier and Division One following the escalation of violence against referees.
The development came after a referee (name withheld) was on Saturday severely beaten up by angry fans during a premier division match between Nsundwe FC and Wimbe FC. This happened when he blew the final at the end of the match which Wimbe won 2-1.
This was the second attack on referees in the league within three days as Dzaleka-based referee Romeo Binjangala suffered a broken leg when he was attacked during a match between Lilongwe Veterans and Mtsiriza United at Mchezi ground.
Reports indicate that Veterans’ players and supporters descended on the Rwandan referee after the final whistle in reaction to the red-card he gave to their captain in the second half. Mtsiriza won the match 2-1.
But in a letter titled ‘Suspension of Sunday games’ addressed to all teams in the league on Saturday, CRFA general secretary Bernard Chiwiruwiru Harawa stated that the increase in cases of violence was unbearable.
“I write to inform you that all Sunday games have been suspended with immediate effect. This is due to escalation of violence against referees at different match venues. As an association, we are deeply shocked and we condemn this malpractice in strongest terms,” the letter reads.
“Also, be assured that peace will come back to our beautiful game and region. All perpetrators will be dealt with accordingly. Nobody is above the law and violence has no room in the game. Any inconvenience this may cause is sincerely regretted.”
Meanwhile, National Football Referees Association (NFRA) general secretary Chris Kalichero has since condemned the incidents, saying the barbaric attacks on match officials are archaic and unacceptable.