FAM says it will not follow Confederation of African Football (CAF) recommendation that member associations should have closed matches when they resume football in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Instead, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu, who is also a CAF executive committee members yesterday said: “We will apply the situation as we deem fit based on the local situation.
“We are different from European leagues where it is easy to play football in a controlled environment under full coverage of television broadcasting.”
According to the guidelines CAF released last week, associations are advised to resume matches without supporters because African associations, leagues and clubs have health security challenges.
Part of the guidelines read: “The resumption of training and matches will not be easy to manage, from the health security point of view. A great challenge awaits the African federations, their professional leagues and their clubs, often unaccustomed to scrupulously respecting standards and procedures of this type, especially since health security is not negotiable.
“Unfortunately, basic standards and absolutely necessary procedures are beyond the reach of many clubs that we know. Apart from a few rare exceptions, which confirm the rule, the clubs of the African elite do not have really organised medical departments.”
CAF has also recommended that each association, league and club recruit a coronavirus officer with medical back ground to be in charge of coordinating all actions related to the pandemic. Further, all participants such as players, officials, referees, ball boys, stewards, police, paramedics and the media must take Covid-19 tests.
The 27-page guidelines also highlight on group training sessions, disinfection of sporting facilities and installation of hydro-alcoholic gels and hygienic equipment on all venues.
“This comprehensive document is a major step towards resuming football on the continent.
“Based on recent developments, it is important we have a plan in place to guide our stakeholders on the return of continental and domestic competitions, and the need for an all hands on deck approach.”
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda said playing without supporters is impractical in Malawi.
“You need to consider the situation in your country when taking up such recommendations. Closed matches cannot work in Malawi where the league relies mainly on gate revenue. Where will they [clubs] get the money to pay service providers such as ground owners, stewards, police and paramedics?” he wondered
On his part, Super League of Malawi president Tiya Somba-Banda also suggested that Malawi should come up with its own strategy rather than copying what others have done.
“One size fits all cannot work here. Of course, playing in camera is viable, but the most viable option in our case is reducing the capacity in the stadiums so that, we can impose social distancing in the stadium,” he said.
However, football analyst Ben Chiwaya said it would be suicidal for FAM to ignore CAF’s recommendation “considering the rising Covid-19 cases”.