Football Association of Malawi verdict on Red Lions, Evrom abandoned match

Preamble

The Football Association of Malawi Competitions Main Organizing Committee met on Mondayevening at the FAM secretariat to review and pass a verdict on a Carlsberg cup quarterfinal match between Evrom and Red Lions that was abandoned on Friday 23rd August 2013.

Observations

The meeting critically analyzed the reports from the stakeholders who were in charge of the organization of the match to get a picture as to what really transpired at the Kamuzu Stadium on the said Friday afternoon.

The reports were submitted by the chairperson of Stewards, Kamuzu Stadium Management, the referee’s assessor, the referee of the match, match coordinator and the match commissioner.

From the reports it emerged that the match was abandoned in the 70th minute with scores tied at one- all due to a fracas involving Ganyu supporters and Red Lions supporters.

Football Association of Malawi  CEO Sugzo Nyirenda

Football Association of Malawi CEO Sugzo Nyirenda

It clearly transpired from all reports received that the Ganyu fans who were cheering the home team, Evrom FC, provoked the visiting supporters through singing of mockery songs and insults. The visiting supporters, most of whom were soldiers in army gear retaliated leading to a standoff between the two camps.

The fighting between the two groups of supporters got out of hand as fans started throwing stones into the field of play forcing the referee to call of the match as stipulated in law number 5 of the game which gives the referees powers to stop play due to outside pitch interference.

The Army side made the situation worse by bringing in extra officers from their Blantyre Campsite in military trucks as their presence added fuel to the situation which was being normalized.

The game could not continue as the situation looked unsafe to resume play forcing the referee to call off the match.

Findings

  • The match was abandoned due to the fighting between the Ganyu supporters who were cheering Evrom FC and Red Lions FC supporters.
  • By their acts the two sets of supporters brought the game, FAM and sponsors Carlsberg Malawi into disrepute.
  • Red Lions were found guilty of abuse of Power by using their military status to intimidate and torture civilians as well as their decision to bring in more soldiers to the Stadium to fight against Civilians.
  • The abandonment of the match was purely due to outside interference caused by the rival supporters and had nothing to do with match officials’ decisions or the conduct of players on the field of play.
  • The fracas was to an extent fueled by external forces, rather than Evrom and Red Lions, who are bitter with the previous behavior of Army teams as well as their recent emergence as powerhouses in local football. There is great tension between Army teams and Civilian teams with some forces operating behind the scenes to deal with military sides.

Verdict

The following resolutions were passed by the meeting with regard to the match and the two teams involved:

  • The match will be replayed at the same venue Kamuzu Stadium on Wednesday 28thAugust 2013 at 2pm.
  • The match will be played behind closed doors (no supporters will be allowed inside the stadium to watch the game)
  • Both teams will  jointly bear the costs of organizing the match which is K200,000.00 (Paying of security K150,000.00 and Referees K50,000.00)
  • Both teams should jointly bear the costs of renovations on the damages done on the facility during the Friday fracas which is K100,000.00
  • Red Lions will be fined an extra K200, 000.00 for being found guilty of abuse of power following their decision to bring into the stadium extra soldiers to join the fracas.
  • The fines should be settled before the teams play the fixture.

 

VIOLENCE AND HATRED IN LOCAL FOOTBALL

 

The Football Association of Malawi is saddened with the latest ugly scenes in the local game which are bringing the game, FAM and sponsors into disrepute.

FAM condemns, in the strongest terms the acts of hooliganism, hatred and lack of respect for the game and its personnel.

It is in this regard that FAM would like to express its disappointment and issue strong warning in regard to the following events:

ARMY TEAMS VS CIVILIANS

There is unnecessary tension between the four Army teams namely Red Lions, Kamuzu Barracks, Mafco and Moyale Barracks and the Civilian teams.

FAM has been made to understand that there is conspiracy by Civilians teams against Army teams whom they accuse of aggression and intimidation whenever they are playing Civilian teams.

To an extent that hatred has come in as a result of the success of army teams in local competitions as well as their continued good sponsorship from the Malawi Defence Force against the Civilian teams poor run of form and continued struggle to find stable sponsorship..

It should be brought to the attention of Army teams’ supporters that when their teams join local competitions they participate as football teams and not as military entities. As such they are expected to follow the guidelines and regulations governing football in the country and to conduct themselves in a manner that football regulations require them to.

It is in this regard that FAM implores Army team supporters to lead by example and behave as they are trained in the army, to be disciplined. Their status as soldiers does not give them a right to do as they please at football matches. They should not abuse their power against the Civilians.

Whether the soldier are provoked and mocked  through songs which derides their professionalism they should resist from using aggression  force and intimidation in retaliation to the same.

Soldiers should be able to respond to mockery chants as football fans by also singing and chanting other than using force as soldiers to intimidate civilians

From now onwards FAM bans the wearing of Army Camouflage Uniforms or any army gear by Army teams Technical personnel and officials during matches.

FAM will also take proper measurers with Army authorities to help in disciplining their supporters and teams.

If the army has procedures of rewarding their teams for achieving success in local competitions, we believe they also have procedures for disciplining teams that misbehave in the same competitions.

On the same note, FAM would like to warn Civilian teams’ supporters against provoking the soldiers during football matches.

Local Football structures have proper procedures that allow Civilian teams or even Army teams to follow and file their complaints through the right channel other than taking matters into own hands.

FAM warns against any further aggression by Civilian teams against Army teams and vice versa as culprits will be dealt with accordingly.

 

COMMENTS BY OFFICIALS

FAM also condemns the unnecessary, careless and irresponsible comments by team officials which are playing a big role in fueling the tension among teams and football stakeholders in general.

The careless comments that are made before or after games and of course on the whole organization of football in Malawi through the media promotes hatred in the local game as well as bringing the game, FAM and other main football stakeholders into disrepute.

FAM would like to warn officials of teams not to find scapegoats for their failure to run their respective teams as a way of diverting attention from their problems through the media. Any official found guilty of making irresponsible comments will be disciplined accordingly.

If teams lose matches they should learn to lose as gentlemen and when they win they should also celebrate as gentlemen, for the good of the game.

Executive Committee members are policy makers and their statements are the position of the club as such FAM expects such statements to be mature and constructive ones that will lead to the development of the game other than destruct it.

FAM also extends the warning to coaches, players and supporters who make unnecessary comments in the mainstream media and social media networks about the local game that they will be punished accordingly.

CONCLUSION

FAM would like to remind the soccer loving fraternity on the past where the game is coming from. The country has struggled to get sponsors over the years and a lot has been done to win back the confidence of the private sector.

By and by the private sector is coming back to love the game after endless efforts to curb violence and maladministration which pushed the sponsors away in the past.

FAM will do everything under its mandate and power as the custodians of football in the country, to safe guard the current good image of the game as well as the sponsors it have while at the same time striving to bring more sponsors into the game.

FAM would like to apologies to all stakeholders who have been affected by the above mentioned incident and, in particular, to Carlsberg Malawi. FAM would like to assure all stakeholders that it will do everything within its powers to control the situation.

Carlsberg Malawi has shown to be a true partner of Malawi Football following their decisions to come back to football ten year after leaving due to acts of violence and FAM would not allow the same to happen again now or never.

 

SUZGO NYIRENDA

GENERAL SECRETARY

 

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