Football Association of Malawi (FAM) Covid-19 taskforce is expected to revise its proposal on football resumption following a sudden change of heart on its earlier stance to resume matches with fans.
This follows Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 co-chair John Phuka’s position that they do not expect football to resume with fans while new cases of the coronavirus are on the rise in the county.
Reacting to Phuka’s sentiments, FAM taskforce chairperson Chimango Munthali said the association welcomes the feedback.
“FAM is open to the feedback from the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19.
“It’s one of the things that we considered in the worst case scenario that football will be played behind closed doors.
“We all agree that we have reached that worst case scenario. It’s now am matter of us sitting down to align the proposal with the feedback from the Presidential Task Force,” he said.
Munthali, however, said resuming football minus fans would require that matches should be broadcast live on television; hence, the need for the association to engage other stakeholders such as media houses and football matches’ production firms.
Confederation of African Football (CAF) has also recommended that its member associations should have closed matches, arguing that African associations, leagues and clubs have health security challenges.
Initially, FAM said playing without fans was not practical in Malawi situation. However, with a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases, which saw newly-elected President Lazarus Chakwera cancelling Independence Celebrations and his inauguration at Bingu National Stadium on July 6, FAM has changed its tune.
Soccer analyst David Kanyenda commended FAM for the decision to resume football without fans.
“Playing in empty stadia may be the only feasible and attractive alternative. Fans have to accept the reality of following matches on media platforms if and when football resumes.
“However, we have to implement health measures designed to protect the players and non-playing staff from each other as some may be infected,” he said.
But some TNM Super League clubs are dreading the idea of operating without gate revenue which is a main source of income for most of them.
Another football analyst Kelvin Moyo is of the view that FAM should subsidise the cost of hosting matches using funds from CAF and Fifa.
“With the spike in numbers of new Covid-19 cases, business as usual attitude cannot work. Clubs and FAM should look at how football can resume minus fans and also look at a bailout package for the game,” he said.
FAM suspended association football in March as a preventive measure against the spread of the coronavirus.