Super League for Malawi (Sulom) president Innocent Bottomani has expressed concern about what he described as deteriorating officiation standards.
Speaking in an interview yesterday, the Sulom president said he is concerned with the negativity that engulfed officiation last season.
“As Sulom, we are very concerned with the incidents of bias and lack of professionalism that dogged the league last season and we are making it a priority to find lasting solutions to ensure our match officials are professional.
“As president I am also an executive committee member of Football Association of Malawi and I sit in referees subcommittee alongside [chairperson] Mr. Rashid Ntelera. We have made it a priority to tackle the officiation problems,” said Bottomani.
He said FAM president Walter Nyamilandu is equally concerned with the situation and has arranged several programmes in a bid to improve the situation.
“Even sponsors were concerned with the standards of refereeing last season and that is not good for the game. From our findings, it is emanating from bias and incompetence, but we will get to the bottom of the problem.”
Ntelera also said he is appalled with the standards of officiation.
“It has been the worst year in terms of officiation. Instead of moving forward we are going backwards. As FAM we got concerned and through the Fifa Project, we have embarked on a nationwide campaign where we are organising special training for referees. We can’t let such kind of officiation escalate,” he said.
“It might be due to lack of incentives or just incompetence as you know Fifa has made 96 changes to the laws of the game,” he said.
The National Football Referees Association general secretary Chris Kalichero has since welcomed FAM and Sulom intervention, but feels that apart from training and orientation programmes, the welfare of referees should also be addressed.
“There are a lot of challenges that referees go through. Of course, our reputation has been not good last season but sometime the fans and officials too are not conversant with laws of the game. There are also the issues of welfare and security of our referees which also need to be looked into,” said Kalichero. n