FAM executive committee (ex-co) has endorsed a proposal by its Competitions and Marketing Committee and Covid-19 Task Force to resume football in August.
During its meeting held in Salima on Saturday, the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) ex-co resolved to commence discussions with the Malawi Government and relevant stakeholders.
FAM suspended association football on March 20, a day before the 2020 season was supposed to kick off after President Peter Mutharika declared a State of Disaster in the wake of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
But a statement issued on Saturday evening states that during the consultative process that will start this month, FAM will present a blueprint to the stakeholders on how football can resume “in the safest manner possible to mitigate the effects of Covid-19”.
Reads part of the statement: “FAM will provide regular updates on the progress.”
In an interview yesterday, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said guidance of the authorities will be critical during the process.
He said: “This is why we will consult extensively so that we can start the season in the safest manner possible.”
On the probability of the game resuming behind closed doors as is the case in other countries, the FAM president said: “We will unveil our blueprint of the proposed Covid-19 Football Health and Safety guidelines once we have presented it to Malawi Government.
“Our plan is to seek their views first before publishing any measures without the consent of authorities.
“However, what I can say is that we are different from European leagues where it is easy to play football in a controlled environment and under full coverage of TV broadcasting.”
Mabvuto Chibambo, spokesperson of a group of supporters which gave the association up to May 31 to lift the suspension or face unspecified action, said they are happy to note progress on the issue.
He said: “We are happy that there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel as FAM has stepped up the drive towards lifting the suspension.
“As I said, this being a process, we have no problems with the proposed dates because there will be consultations involved. So, I would say we are on the right track.”
Be Forward Wanderers captain Alfred Manyozo Jnr and his Nyasa Big Bullets counterpart John Lanjesi said FAM’s decision 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. We have missed the game and the experience has been hectic and to hear that there are such plans is relieving.”
But their Blue Eagles and Civil Service (Civo) United counterparts Mecium Mhone and Raphael Phiri, respectively, urged FAM to exercise caution in the process.
Said Mhone: “FAM should consider the safety of all stakeholders, especially players football being a contact game. The other thing that also needs to be borne in mind is that cases are on the rise.”