Ministry of Youth and Sports says it will start regulating sports facilities to accredit only those that are fit to host events in the country.
The move is said to be in response to the country’s poor standards of sports facilities.
The Department of Sports has since developed guidelines which all sports facilities must meet to be accredited, according to Malawi Government’s Annual Economic Report for 2021.
The report reads in part: “Sports had no guidelines for construction of local and international sports facilities by the private and public sectors in the country. As a remedial measure, the Department of Sports developed draft guidelines awaiting validation for the construction of sports facilities in the country.
“All stakeholders would be required to construct facilities that will satisfy these guidelines. Additionally, the Department of Sports would use these guidelines to accredit or not accredit private and public sports facilities.”
Ministry of Sports spokesperson Ali Kalichero confirmed the development in an interview yesterday.
He said: “Indeed the draft guidelines were developed and what is remaining is the validation then the launch of the guidelines.”
Kalichero said old facilities will also have to meet the requirements to be certified fit to host events.
“Recommendations will be made for such structures to be renovated to fit the new guidelines,” he said.
The accreditation of facilities comes after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) banned all Malawi stadia from hosting Malawi national football team home matches.
The development has forced the Malawi National Football Team, the Flames, to play their Qatar World Cup home qualifiers at Orlando Stadium in South Africa.
CAF re-inspected Bingu National Stadium last week, but the facility failed the test again.
But Football Association (FAM) general secretary Alfred Gunda said the accreditation of facilities was not a solution.
He said: “I would think the accreditaion of the facilities is the responsibility of a particular sport’s governing body which accredits facilities according to its specifications.
“Government should stick to the construction and maintenance of its facilities. It cannot be the owners of facilities and regulator at the same time.”
On his part, Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) general secretary Isaac Chimwala welcomed the development.
He said: “This is a welcome development as it will help improve the standards of sports facilities.
“Most of the facilities are indeed owned by government and for a long time, government never paid attention on renovating them.
“The accreditation policy will ensure that government renovates its facilities to required standards.”
Main stadiums such as the Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre and Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe are owned by Ministry of Sports and Youth.
Civo Stadium is under the Office of the President and Cabinet while Silver Stadium is owned by Reserve Bank of Malawi.
Kamuzu Institute of Sports, BAT Ground and Blantyre Youth Centre are under Malawi National Council of Sports.
Stadiums in Zomba, Karonga, Rumphi, Kasungu, Dedza, Balaka, Mangochi and Mulanje are owned by councils while Mzuzu Stadium is owned by Mzuzu City Council.
Some of these country’s sports facilities are in dilapidated state.
Government is also constructing the Griffin Saenda Sports Complex and the Aquatic Complex in Lilongwe.
It also plans to construct stadiums for Nyasa Big Bullets and Mighty Wanderers in Blantyre.