Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has cancelled a referees’ fitness test exercise which was set to start this weekend.
This has sparked outrage from the whistle-men who have condemned the football authorities for lacking seriousness.
This year’s first quarterly referees test was scheduled to be held this Saturday in the Southern Region, Monday in the Centre and Tuesday in the North.
Confirming the cancellation in an interview yesterday, FAM refereeing development officer Maxwell Mtonga attributed it to lack of funding.
“We needed a substantial amount of money to organise the fitness test but we have not been given the money. That is why we have postponed the exercise,” he said while refusing to disclose their budget.
Mtonga said they have shifted the fitness test to this month end, hoping that by then the funds will be available.
National Football Referees Association general secretary Chris Kalichero said they have been informed about the postponement.
“It is painful to the referees because they have been preparing for the exercise. However, there is nothing we can do to change the situation,” he said.
Central Region Referees Committee chairperson Duncan Lengani said the referees are disappointed with the development.
“They invested their time and resources to prepare for this and to cancel it at the eleventh hour is painful,” he said.
The referees’ fitness test takes place quarterly.
Northern Region Referees chairperson Clemence Kanduku also expressed disappointment over the cancellation.
He said the referees spent a lot travelling to Mzuzu to train in readiness for the exercise.
“The referees used to travel from Rumphi, Chitipa and Nkhata Bay, among other districts, to train at Mzuzu Stadium every weekend. It is unfortunate that all that effort has ended up being fruitless,” he said.