FAM and the Super League of Malawi (Sulom) must apply rules even in the face of obvious risks if violence is to end, the association’s former president Geoff Gondwe has advised.
“There is a tendency among many soccer administrators today to sacrifice principles of good football administration at the altar of their ambitions by adopting a populist style of management.
“During our time there was strict adherence to FAM and Fifa statutes,” Gondwe explained on Thursday.
Weekend Nation wanted to learn from Gondwe and other former football administrators how they dealt with violence amid concerns that FAM and Sulom were failing to stamp their authorities in punishing perpetrators of the violence that punctuated the TNM Super League match between Mighty Wanderers and Silver Strikers at the Balaka Stadium on December 28 2013.
“I remember [in 1995] there was a fracas at MDC Stadium and Bata Football Club supporters attacked a referee and broke Mr Yasin Osman’s windscreen. We took a swift and decisive disciplinary action by banning the club for six months notwithstanding its popularity.
“There was massive protest from the supporters and I personally received a lot of death threats. FAM put its foot down and the message that there were no sacred cows was well received. Discipline was restored,” he said.
Gondwe, who became Cosafa vice-president at the turn of the century, attributed the increasing football violence and hooliganism to general moral decadence which demands swift and decisive action from the football authorities.
“Football administrators should bear in mind that there is moral decadence in our society today arising from frustration caused by economic woes and social injustice. It is, therefore, more important now than it was during our time to ensure, with the assistance of the national security organs, that there is adequate crowd control within and outside the pitch,” he noted.
As a solution, Gondwe advised FAM and Sulom to tighten club constitutions with clear roles of supporters, adding that violence has gone out of hand due to power struggle between fans and administrators who are supposed to be complementing each other.
Former FAM acting general secretary George Kaudza-Masina seemed to agree with Gondwe that “supporters need to be registered and affiliated to the club with clear do’s and don’ts.
“During our time, fans knew their roles and the people who were running football clubs were commanding much respect. Our current administrators do know what is right or wrong, but they have reduced themselves to low levels just to survive,” Masina noted, while suggesting lengthy bans.
FAM Disciplinary Committee has ordered Silver to forfeit nine points and pay K1.95 million, K500 000 for Wanderers in addition to forfeiture of six points, easing down on Sulom Appeals Committee nine and six match bans that were accompanied by K5.2 million and K700 000 fines respectively.
Sulom Appeals Committee had eased down on Sulom Disciplinary Committee’s order that Silver pay K2.9 million and be banned for eight months while Wanderers were banned for five months in addition to a K700 000 fine.
A fan who called Weekend Nation on Wednesday, warned that the football authorities’ reduction of the punishments would make fans who perpetrate violence feel indispensable while genuine ones would be scared to go and watch games.