Be Forward Wanderers has appealed against Super League of Malawi (Sulom) disciplinary committee ruling that ordered a replay of the abandoned TNM Super League match between the club and Mzuzu University (Mzuni) FC.
The game was supposed to take place on November 4 at Balaka Stadium, but Mzuni was abandoned after Mzuni refused to play claiming that Wanderers fans assaulted their officials on arrival at the venue.
But Sulom disciplinary body which was chaired by Davis Sado ruled that the abandoned match shall be replayed “on a date to be fixed by Sulom at a venue closest to the centre from the respective bases of the two teams.”
Both teams were also fined K1 million each for bringing the game into disrepute.
However, Wanderers secretary general Mike Butao has lodged an appeal against the ruling, saying the club was adverse media trial compromised the enquiry.
“We believe Wanderers was judged before the enquiry took place and the decision to postpone the game was made before the hearing took place and this compromised the enquiry” part of the appeal reads.
“The General Secretary of SULOM apologized to the sponsors for ‘the violence’ in the Daily Times newspaper and when queried in The Nation newspaper said he had to apologize because it is not good when games are ‘postponed’. All this was before the enquiry took place. And we lodged official complaints with SULOM on both occasions,” reads the appeal.
Among the grounds of appeal, Wanderers argue that the composition of the disciplinary team had partisan officials.
“Mr Trouble Kalua is a well-known Bullets person. Mr Chrispin Sibande is a Silver Strikers person. Both these teams are our direct competitors for the league title this season being on positions two and three. And curiously issues involving teams to which these two are affiliated have not been addressed at all this season,” reads the appeal.
Wanderers further argue that the enquiry should not have come up with a verdict.
“It was just an enquiry to establish what had happened as even the enquiry chairperson Mr Sado said in his opening remarks. The next course of action should have been to charge the culprits and summon them for a hearing.”
The Lali Lubani Road outfit further highlight that Mzuni never reported inside the stadium and never even communicated to Sulom that they were leaving the stadium due to lack of security nor did they request additional security.
“They simply left, totally disregarding the rules and it was now Sulom hunting for Mzuni to get an explanation. Simply put they did not report for the match and should lose the match,” Butao said.
“The referee blew the whistle to conclude the match. What should have happened is what happens when one team fails to report for the match and the referee blows to conclude the match. Points are given to the team that is present. Wanderers should have been awarded the match. The enquiry should have taken place, if at all, after that the match was awarded and after Mzuni protested.”
The Sulom disciplinary committee slapped two Wanderers Supporters only identified as Trouble and Njanji have also been banned from watching any Super League match for the rest of the season for their part in the brawl and assaulting Mzuni FC officials.
“Where is the evidence of assault apart from Mzuni submissions? Almost everybody says they did not witness any assault, not even the police. Even the media have been calling it ‘alleged violence’. Most of the submissions are based on hearsay, what the stakeholders heard, not what they saw. Football is a crowd game. How can there be assault on a team at the stadium and no stakeholder sees it? Why has the panel taken every word in the Mzuni submission as gospel truth? From their own submission, Mzuni did not even go to the hospital from the stadium. They went to their lodge. It was Mr Khonje of Sulom who followed them to the lodge and decided for Mzuni that they should go to the hospital,” Wanderers argue.
Wanderers claim there is selective justice: “Recently one team was involved in actual violence that everybody saw and was given a fully suspended sentence (fine). This time a team is ‘allegedly involved in violence’ and is given a partially suspended sentence. Even though one was a FAM-administered game and the other is a SULOM-administered game the basic rules governing Malawi football are the same. Why is the justice in the selective?
“We believe we deserve 3 points from this game and we should not be punished for allegations. Mzuni should have asked for extra security and played the game under protest if indeed their claims of violence or intimidation are true. We should not set a precedent that will be hard to verify or control later.”
Nomads chairperson Gift Mkandawire said they have appealed because they ruling is unjust.
“In my view, this will set a precedence for teams to be absconding games and they [Sulom] are killing the game. I am [also] very sorry for teams such as Moyale and Azam Tigers who reluctantly went on to play their games against Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers respectively after being physically assaulted because the interpretation from this ruling is that they were stupid to go ahead and play those matches,” he said.
But Mzuni general secretary Khumbo Kumwenda described the ruling “ generally fair.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :