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Ministry proposes football return with fans

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Ministry of Youth and Sports has submitted the proposed guidelines to Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 on resumption of football with the hope of restarting the game with fans next month.

The Task Force holds key to the resumption of sports in the country as it is expected to meet officials from the ministry this week.

Ministry of Sports spokesperson Simon Mbvundula said the proposed guidelines include playing football with fans in both local and international matches.

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“The priority is safety of the athletes, fans and all stakeholders so the guidelines we have included measures to be followed by everyone. However, the Task Force will have a final say on the proposed guidelines for safe return of the game,” Mbvundula said.

The ministry has outlined several preventive measures to be followed by sports associations for safe return. Among the measures include, testing of the players and coaches, disinfecting sports venues and quarantine of athletes. All venues required to have special rooms for isolation for those suspected to be Covid-19 positive. Athletes are also not allowed to use public transport.

Sports Minister Ulemu Msungama met Football Association of Malawi (Fam) officials last week. Msungama hinted that teams could be allowed to resume training this week.

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Chairperson for Fam Task Force on Covid-19, Chimango Munthali refused to comment on the matter.

However, Fam president Walter Nyamilandu was quoted in the local press that restarting the game without fans will not work.

In the proposed roadmap, strict preventive measures will be followed such as players on the bench will be in the designated place in the stand. The Flames are expected to take part in Cosafa tournament in October before taking part in the Afcon qualifiers in November. Football was suspended in March this year due to Covid-19.

In England, fans returned to the stands for the first time in a friendly match between Chelsea and Brighton and Hove Albion FC on Saturday.

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