Be Forward Wanderers have torn into the Super League of Malawi (Sulom), saying the flagship league governing body has lost its credibility.
The Nomads general secretary (GS) Mike Butao was reacting to Sulom Disciplinary Committee’s decision to uphold an earlier ruling that the abandoned match between Wanderers and Mzuzu University (Mzuni) FC be replayed.
The ruling comes after Sulom Appeals Committee ordered a fresh hearing on the grounds that the disciplinary committee erred by failing to comply with Article 36 which gives teams 72 hours notice.
Sulom Disciplinary Committee has ordered that the match—which was abandoned on November 4—be replayed at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe on December 10.
Said Butao on Friday: “We do not believe Sulom have any credibility any more. No wonder they are digging up eight-month-old offences and fining people for offences they did not even know they had committed. Neither were they summoned for a hearing. What were Sulom doing all this time?
“Sulom are simply protecting their own by coming up with that ‘copy and paste’ verdict. Look at the reports of the police and stewards, who are the ones mandated with security and then tell me where the verdict is coming from. None of them saw anything. We believe somebody from Sulom gave Mzuni the wrong advice.
“The Mzuni report will also tell you that they never reported any incident to the match officials but simply left the stadium like they were coming for a beer then changed their minds. It will also tell you that despite claiming to have been seriously assaulted from the stadium they went back to their lodge, not the hospital or police. But somebody from Sulom went and told them to go to the hospital.”
He added: “Mzuni submitted that their female leader of delegation was groped in private areas but their own report says Wanderers supporters “wanted” to grope her.”
Nevertheless, the Nomads GS said they will not appeal against the ruling.
“It’s not even worth appealing again because this will just turn into a circus,” he said.
According to the fresh ruling, the notable change as per the Nomads’ appeal is the reduction of [goalkeeper trainer] Vales Kamzere’s punishment, “after being exonerated from wrong doing as his alleged words did not incite supporters into violence but he is seriously warned to refrain from such conduct in future”.
Mzuni have also had their fine reduced from K1 million to K700 000.
Sulom GS Williams Banda said: “That is their [Nomads] opinion. You only know who was swimming naked when the tides fall.”
Reacting to the reduced fine, Mzuni FC general secretary Khumbo Kumwenda on Friday said: “The reduced fine is welcome but we don’t feel we deserved any fine.
“It’s clear from the verdict as to who was responsible for the abandonment of the match and that team is not Mzuni FC.
“We are also shocked that an official has been ‘seriously warned’ twice within the space of one week on two different cases. Just what does being ‘seriously warned’ really mean?”
Part of the ruling, reads: “Wanderers FC is hereby found guilty of failure to control the actions of its supporters and is fined K500 000. Both Be Forward Wanderers FC and Mzuni FC are hereby found guilty of bringing the league and the game of football into disrepute and are fined K1 million each.
“[But] considering that Wanderers facilitated the smooth and peaceful exit of the spectators from the Balaka Stadium, its fine is reduced to K600 000. [And] considering [that] Mzuni FC did not trigger the fracas but its actions bordered on over-reaction, its fine is reduced to K700 000.”
The Nomads midfielder Joseph Kamwendo’s one match suspension has been upheld “and is hereby seriously warned for inciting violence and offensive behaviour and therefore, is suspended for one match”.
The match failed to take place after some Mzuni officials were assaulted by Wanderers fans and the Mzuzu-based side left the stadium for their safety.