FAM referees development officer and CAF referees instructor Maxwell Mtonga, who is retiring at the end of this month, has attributed poor officiation to referees’ love of money and lack of passion.
Mtonga, who has served in the position since 2009, said that in the past, referees joined the profession for passion while today they join it to earn a living.
He said: “Refereeing during our era hinged on the passion for the game. You had to have passion for the game. Money was secondary.
“These days, it’s money that comes first. That’s why you have officials who are corrupting referees because the referees are interested in money. It’s no longer refereeing for passion.”
Mtonga also bemoaned lack of seriousness on the part of some referees, which he said has affected the standard of officiation.
He said: “Refereeing has developed. Now we have a lot of bodies looking into the welfare of referees. During our time, we had to buy our own uniform. We had to do training on our own. We had to do our own communication with international football bodies.
“Nowadays, things come on a silver platter. We have Fifa looking into the welfare of referees from training, welfare, equipment etc. All the referees have to do is to develop passion and be serious, and then he or she will be at the top. But since these things are coming on a silver plate, some of the referees are not serious with the career.”
His concerns come after two high-profile matches were recentlyabandoned due to referees’ questionable decisions.
The Blantyre derby between Nyasa Big Bullets and Mighty Wanderers was abandoned due to crowd trouble following some questionable refereeing decisions.
A Super League of Malawi disciplinary committee verdict faulted the referees who handled the match for triggering the incident.
Last weekend, a match between Silver Strikers and Red Lions also ended prematurely after the Malawi Defence Force outfit questioned the referees decision to award the Central Bankers a penalty.
Soccer analyst George Chiusiwa said refereeing problem is due to match-fixing which football authorities are treating with kid gloves.
He said: “Domestic football has been riddled with threats of match-fixing for long. In fact, there have been officially reported cases of the vice before, but which have only been dealt with administratively. In 2017, Mzuzu-based referees were found guilty of allegedly pocketing a K15 000 bribe to fix a Carlsberg Cup match.
“They were only suspended without any criminal sanctions from appropriate authorities with jurisdiction over criminal matters. Why such a case wasn’t formally reported to the ACB and the police by the football authorities is incomprehensible. We joke too much in our game!”