FAM and Sulom have welcomed the easing of Covid-19 restrictions on public gatherings from 50 to 250 people, arguing that government should have allowed more spectators at matches.
The Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 on Tuesday announced that government has decided to ease the restrictions following a drop in Covid-19 positivity rate.
Making the announcement during the task force’s daily updates, Minister of Health Khumbize Chiponda said public gatherings in open space can now be at 250 while indoor gatherings are at 100 people.
She further said spectators can attend matches as long as they do not exceed the 250 cap, adding that she has confidence in Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and Super League of Malawi (Sulom) to adhere to the regulation as they did with the 50 people restriction.
FAM Covid-19 Task Force chairperson Chimango Munthali welcomed the new regulations which come into effect tomorrow.
“The 250 will surely allow us to safely restart all our football leagues as per our revised competitions roadmap and we are thankful to government,” he said.
Munthali, however, said FAM wished government allowed more spectators.
He said: “We are happy with opening up, but we seriously wish we could have been allowed to at least have quarter capacity access of spectators in the stadiums.
“It has been so tough for the teams and football in general and we hope a special consideration will be made for football.”
Munthali also assured government that they will continue adhering to the regulations.
Sulom vice-general secretary Zakaria Nyirenda, who is also Sulom Covid-19 desk officer, reiterated Munthali’s sentiments on the need for more supporters to be allowed in match venues.
“It’s really tough for clubs to operate under these circumstances.
“We hoped that at least government would allow more supporters in stadiums.”
Nyirenda said with the restriction now at 250, a few supporters will be allowed.
“We will be having a few supporters because 250 people cannot all be match organisers,” he said.
Meanwhile, Football Players Association (FPA) has echoed FAM and Sulom pleas to allow more supporters.
“We are grateful that football is back and that government is softening up on supporters. But this is not enough. Clubs badly need gate revenue to take care of their players,” said FPA general secretary Ernest Mangani.
This is the second time for the task force to announce the easing of the Covid-19 restrictions.
Last month, Chiponda also announced the decision to ease the restrictions, only to rescind the decision later.
However, Sulom went ahead with the resumption of the league using the 50 cap restrictions by drastically reducing participants such as the media, officials, stewards and security personnel at the matches.