Super League leaders Silver Strikers have been hit with of K 1.1 million (about $3 235) fine and a six-match home ban after being found guilty of a number of cases of misconduct during their recent league match against Epac at Silver Stadium.
Epac have been handed a K150 000 (about $441) fine for failing to control their supporters’ conduct apart from other numerous penalties given to individuals from both sides.
The match was stopped for some minutes towards the end following a fracas that erupted between Silver and Epac fans.
Silver have said they will not pay the fine and described the whole judgment as witch-hunting whereas Epac said they will not appeal.
According to a statement from the Sulom disciplinary committee, signed by general secretary Williams Banda, the punishments are with immediate effect.
This means Silver will play their last two crucial title-deciding games against Kamuzu Barracks and Mighty Wanderers on neutral venues despite initially being scheduled for Silver Stadium.
Silver were found guilty of pitch invasion by their supporters, bringing the game, Sulom and sponsor TNM into disrepute, disrupting the normal proceedings of the game and supporters behaving in a manner of breaching public peace.
Their supporters Nowa Rojasi and Dan Mhango have been slapped with six-month bans each and K150 000 (about $441) fines each for pitch invasion while executive committee member Dennis Kachikho has been banned for a year with an extra fine of K 250 000 (about $735) for misbehaving.
Epac official Willex Dini has also been ordered to stay away from the technical bench for six months.
“The committee recommends to Malawi Police Service to monitor the suspended sentences of Rojasi, Dan Mhango and Kachikho whenever there are games,” reads the statement .
Silver’s chairperson Dr. McDonald Mafuta-Mwale, who heard about the verdict from this reporter, said the club was not responsible for the fracas.
“Does Silver have the power to arrest people? People started making trouble when the game had not started and police did nothing. Even when the fighting started, police did nothing yet we hired 40 police officers for that game. What were they doing? We did our part by hiring security personnel, but they failed to do their job.
“Sulom should stop punishing clubs when it is clear other quarters are not doing their job well. We don’t have that kind of money to pay Sulom and if they want to fund-raise, let them find other means ,” charged Mafuta-Mwale.
Epac patron Dean Josiah-Banda said they will not appeal against the verdict though he expressed concern over Sulom’s handling of security issues.
“We have to look at the cause of the whole fracas and you will find that it is Sulom who are at fault for negligence on security issues as it was evident before the kick-off that there was no proper security,” he said.
Banda could not be drawn to comment on the verdict as he referred all questions to the statement.
“The statement is clear and as indicated, all sides were given a chance to be heard and have a chance to appeal within 48 hours if they have issues,” he said.
Silver will serve the two-game suspension in the current season and the other four next season.
Assistant coach Hellings Mwakasungula, while saying it is a blow moving from home, said they will not allow the development to affect their title campaign.
“Last season, we won the league by beating Escom United away in Blantyre, so we can do it again away from Silver Stadium,” he said.
Silver just need a win from their last two games to defend the title. They are three points clear of Bullets, who also have two games to finish the league against Red Lions and Epac.