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Fam Taskforce suspended league without consulting

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TIGHTLIPPED—Munthali

Details have emerged that Football Association of Malawi (Fam) Special Taskforce on Covid-19 recommended the suspension of the TNM Super League for one month without consulting stakeholders.

Super League of Malawi (Sulom) was reportedly forced to release a statement on January 18 to suspend the league for three weeks claiming compliance with government’s new restrictions on public gatherings to a maximum of 50 people.

In a memo dated January 12 2021, which Times has seen, Fam Special Taskforce Chairperson Chimango Munthali had already made the decision to suspend the league without consulting stakeholders including Sulom executive committee.

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“Suspend the Super League matches for a month and a review to be conducted after three weeks to guide if it will be safe to resume football. Suspend all physical meetings for a month and a review to be conducted after three weeks to guide if it will be safe to resume,” reads part of the memo.

“Close and disinfect all Fam facilities and make staff work from home for a month. Put on hold all plans to resume football at lower levels until it is clear to safely restart.”

In the memo, the Special Taskforce on Covid-19 said there were several challenges including poor testing services, delays in releasing results and recording unprecedented daily positive numbers and deaths, hence the decision to suspend the league.

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Details which Times has gathered are that the Fam Taskforce never consulted stakeholders when coming up with the decision.

Times has details that the suspension of the league Covid-19 deliberate to ensure that Super League clubs do not receive the second phase of Covid-19 relief funds.

However, Munthali refused to comment on the matter, saying it was an internal issue.

Sulom Vice General Secretary Zacharia Nyirenda said he had not seen the document.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Youth and Sports Simon Mbvundula said, while the government had a hand in the suspension of the league, its priority was the safety of all Malawians.

Fifa is supporting all the member associations with funds to help them during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fam, just like member associations, is expected to receive funds this month to mitigate the financial impact of Covid-19 on football.

In May last year, Fam received K365 million for addressing Covid-19 pandemic challenges.

In a statement on January 19, Sulom said the league was suspended following new restrictions as it was impossible to play football under minimum requirements as stipulated by Fifa.

The suspension of the league for three weeks put the resumption of the league in doubts due to the surge in Covid-19 cases.

Reports suggest the league could resume in March.

Capital City giants Silver Strikers lead the 16-member log table with 19 points from nine matches, just above second-placed Ekwendeni Hammers and third placed Red Lions on goal difference.

At the time of suspension, league games were being played behind closed doors as a measure of controlling the pandemic. Football leagues in neighbouring countries are being played by following Covid-19 preventive measures.

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