Confederation of African Football (CAF) has recommended that member associations should have closed matches when they resume football amid coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
However, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) general secretary Alfred Gunda has described the proposal as impractical on the local scene.
According to the guidelines CAF released on Monday, 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 point of view of health security. 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 MA, league and club recruit a coronavirus officer with medical back ground, to be in charge of coordinating all actions related to the pandemic and that all participants such as players, officials, referees, ball boys, stewards, police, paramedics and the media must take Covid-19 tests.
The 27-paged 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 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.
“Many considerations were factored into the putting together of the document by our team of experts notably the specifications of the continent. Together with strategies established by local authorities, it provides the associations with adequate information to resume operations upon receiving the green light,” said CAF acting general secretary Abdelmounaim Bah in a statement.
But reacting to the proposal, Gunda said: “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?
“We should also bear in mind that clubs rely on the same gate revenue for their operations. So, playing without supporters is the same us waiting until the pandemic is under control. Otherwise, clubs will be put under more financial problems.”
Super League of Malawi (Sulom) president Tiya Somba-Banda said 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.
The country’s top sides Nyasa Big Bullets, Be Forward Wanderers and Silver Strikers supported FAM and Sulom stance to have reduced capacity.
Said Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga: “We are in full support of the road map FAM presented to government.”