FAM Competitions and Marketing Committee and FAM Covid-19 Task Force’s joint meeting held in Blantyre on Saturday proposed the resumption of football matches in August.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) suspended association football in the face of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on March 20, just a day before the 2020 season was set to kick off.
This was after President Peter Mutharika declared the country a State of National Disaster.
A press statement issued on Saturday evening states that the task force has developed a high-level roadmap to restart football in the coming three months which will be submitted to FAM executive committee for approval before further engagement with government and other key stakeholders.
Part of the statement reads: “The meeting analysed the Covid-19 impact on the suspended Malawi football calendar and proposed strategies on restarting the game.”
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda said the meeting came up with a strategy on how FAM can restart the game while maintaining its stand to prioritise the health, safety and interest of all its stakeholders.
“So, regarding the actual dates on when and, indeed the conditions under which football game will restart, will be up to the executive,” he said.
The statement states that the FAM executive committee is set to review and discuss the proposal at its second quarterly meeting scheduled for May 30 2020.
It reads: “The proposed roadmap guides on the consultations and what needs to be done from the day of the FAM executive committee approval to the proposed kick-off dates of the different football leagues in the country.”
FAM has been monitoring the situation and devised two football calendar scenarios where it entailed a delayed start, with September as a deadline or forfeiture of the season in the event of the pandemic prevailing until end of the year.”
In an interview, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said: “We will engage the Covid-19 [national] task force for further consultation through the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and Malawi National Council of Sports on the basis of our proposed preventive measures and plan of action.”
FAM’s meeting came three days after some supporters gave the association up to May 31 to lift the suspension or face unspecified action.
Reacting to the resolutions made at the meeting, the supporters’ spokesperson Mabvuto Chibambo said they are happy that there is progress on the issue.
He said: “We are happy because before the meeting, there was total silence, but now there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel as FAM has set the ball rolling towards lifting the suspension of the games.
“We have no problems with the proposed dates because there are a lot of areas that need to be looked into by various stakeholders. So, I would say we are on the same page with FAM and we will keep on pushing them to ensure that the games resume on the proposed dates.”
Be Forward Wanderers captain Alfred Manyozo Jnr and his Nyasa Big Bullets counterpart John Lanjesi said FAM’s move offers players some relief.
Said Manyozo: “The suspension has affected us [players] greatly in terms of welfare as salaries have been cut and we are not getting game bonuses. For others, they are not even getting paid.
“So, to hear that FAM has set the tone towards the resumption of games comes as a relief.”
On his part, Lanjesi said: “As players, we depend on football and we are also not used to such situations and, therefore, FAM’s move gives us hope.”