Football Association of Malawi (Fam) and Super League of Malawi (Sulom) have pleaded with the government to further ease Covid restrictions on sports to allow more spectators at football matches.
This comes just a day after the Presidential Taskforce eased restrictions on public gatherings from 50 to 100 people for indoor events and 250 people for outdoor activities.
The new restrictions could be a timely relief for the football fraternity after the TNM Super League resumed last month with a maximum of only 50 people.
This means that for the first time ever in the history of football, the Blantyre derby between Mighty Wanderers and Nyasa Big Bullets could be played with a maximum of 250 people.
While commending the Presidential Task Force on Covid for easing down on the restrictions, both Fam and Sulom said they are hoping for a further increase in the number of fans at match venues.
Fam Special Task Force on Covid Chairperson Chimango Munthali asked the government to allow match venues to accommodate a quarter of their total capacity.
“Life could have been better if we were allowed at least a quarter of the total capacity of spectators in our stadiums. The going has been tough for teams and football in general. Of course the increase to 250 will allow us to safely restart all our football leagues as per our revised competitions road map but we are pleading with the government to consider a further increase.
“We remain committed to adherence to both government and football Covid-19 protocols. We appreciate our role as a key partner in the fight against the pandemic. We are not going to be complacent at all knowing the opportunity cost of doing so,” Munthali said.
Sulom vice General Secretary Zachariah Nyirenda said the entire football fraternity had suffered due to the pandemic.
“We are pleased that the government has eased the restrictions which had affected most of our operations. We still expect the government to consider easing the restrictions further in the near future,” Nyirenda said.
Bullets Chief Administrator Albert Chigoga said easing of the restrictions is a gradual process.
“While we appreciate what the Presidential Taskforce has done, we would be more grateful if greater numbers were allowed in football match venues because the sector has demonstrated high compliance with the set guidelines since games resumed. We believe this has also contributed to the continued plummeting of Covid cases in the country,” Chigoga said.
Fam is expected to roll out the inaugural edition of the FDH Cup next month and will be hoping to have more spectators at matches.
Regional leagues are also expected to kick off next month under a new format.
According to the revised football calendar, Super League action is expected to wind up by August.
Silver Strikers lead the 16-member log table with 28 points from 12 matches, four points above Capital City rivals Civil Service United.