The Super League of Malawi (Sulom), through its disciplinary committee, has ordered a replay of the abandoned TNM Super League match between Be Forward Wanderers 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.
The ruling states that upon considering all the circumstances of the abandoned match “and in light of the findings of fact as read with Article 15 of the Sulom constitution which states that clubs shall be responsible for the actions of their supporters, players and officials, the following sanctions and orders are hereby pronounced:
“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], considering that Wanderers facilitated the smooth and peaceful exist of the spectators from the Balaka Stadium, therefore [their fine] is suspended to K600 000.
Nevertheless, the Lali Lubani Road outfit has been slapped with another fine of K500 000 for failing to control the actions of their fans, thereby bringing the total to K1.1 million.
The disciplinary body, which was chaired by Davis Sado, has also suspended Wanderers midfielder Joseph Kamwendo for one game for inciting violence and offensive behavior while goalkeeper trainer Vales Kamzere has been banned from the technical area and touchline for four league matches for similar offences.
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.
It further states that any party aggrieved with the determination has a right to appeal within 48 hours upon payment of the requisite fees.
In coming up with the determination, the body quoted some Fifa and Sulom rules and regulations.
The Sulom disciplinary committee further noted that the pre-match meetings are not taken seriously by both teams and officiating personnel, “all stakeholders are hereby reminded of their duty towards pre match meetings”.
It also noted the tendency by a few selected teams to allow their supporters to converge at the designated entrances into the respective stadia to welcome their teams.
“Such conduct is hereby condemned in the strongest possible terms. All teams are hereby reminded that the said entrances are for teams, officials and officiating personnel and not supporters. Wanderers are warned of their future conduct in this regard.
“There was poor deployment and negligence by security personnel at the dressing room entrance area and capability gap at the stadium as evidenced by the conduct of one Mike Gomonda of Balaka Traffic who failed to protect the Mzuni officials,” the ruling further reads.
Reacting to the verdict, the Nomads chairperson Gift Mkandawire described it as disappointing and unfortunate.
“We haven’t yet sat down as a committee to look at the ruling, but what I can say is that it is very disappointing that we can be robbed three points in such a manner, the rules have not been applied.
“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.
“It is unfortunate that learned people can come up with such a verdict,” he said.
On his part, Mzuni general secretary Khumbo Kumwenda said: “We feel it’s generally fair. We do find the fines a bit on the higher side [though], but it does reflect what happened at the stadium.
“Both our coaches—Alex Ngwira and McNebert Kadzuwa—took blows. I guess it is important to close the chapter and move on,” he said.