Silver Strikers have faulted Football Association of Malawi’s (FAM) verdict that imposed a K300 000 fine for unsporting behaviour during the Bankers’ Airtel Top 8 semi-final against Kamuzu Barracks.
In a letter addressed to FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda, Silver question FAM’s motive by meting out the punishment without hearing them.
“The decision to fine Silver Strikers before according [them] an opportunity to be heard is a grave violation of rules of natural justice and has no place in modern public administration,” reads the letter to FAM signed by the club’s general secretary Thabo Chakaka-Nyirenda.
“Your letter is dated May 28th 2017 which is the date the match was played. This implies that the disciplinary panel was hurriedly empanelled on May 28. The letter gives Silver Strikers 48 hours within which to appeal, yet the letter was sent to us through e-mail at 22:31 hours on May 29 and was seen on May 30 beyond the time stipulated for the appealing. This denies Silver Strikers the right to appeal,” reads part of the letter.
However, the verdict which FAM sent to Silver, which we have seen, clearly says the 48 hours to appeal period starts after receipt of the letter.
The Bankers also accuse FAM of failing to furnish the club with the charges levelled against them.
The letter reads: “The club has never seen the charge levelled against it. It has also not seen the evidence against it. Your letter of May 28 does not mention when the disciplinary committee sat to consider the charge, let alone the disciplinary hearing panel. It does not mention whether the disciplinary panel reached a prescribed quorum or not. No minutes of the disciplinary hearing have been given to the club.
“Requesting Silver Strikers to appeal against the decision within 48 hours from May 28 when the charge and evidence have not been furnished to us amounts to arguing the appeal without knowing the case in advance and an invitation to submit to the determination without proper contest.”
Silver have since requested for the review of the verdict or, alternatively, to be allowed to appeal.
Gunda acknowledged receiving the letter and said they would act on it.
On meting out punishment without trial, Gunda said clubs should read competitions’ rules and regulations.
“Our football does not operate in a vacuum. Standard practice is that there are penalties if you break competition rules and regulations. The rules are very clear, if you don’t use a designated area to enter a stadium, you will be fined K300 000. Why should you be heard? You are only given a chance to appeal. That’s the standard practice everywhere,” he said.
“Have you ever heard a player or official from English Premier League [EPL] demanding to be heard before he is punished for flouting the league’s rules and regulations? They are only given a chance to respond to charges or appeal and not to be heard. Rules and regulations must be respected.” n