Super League of Malawi (Sulom) president Innocent Bottomani has said club officials who are demanding the resignation of his executive are just advancing their personal agendas.
The Sulom president was reacting to calls by Mighty Wanderers and Silver Strikers through their general secretary David Kanyenda and chairperson McDonald Mafuta-Mwale respectively, that the entire Sulom leadership should step down in the wake of how it has handled the Balaka violence case.
“They [officials] are just after our positions. We cannot just step down because of two teams.
“We were elected by 15 clubs and there is no way we can be removed by two teams as that does not constitute a quorum. They should refer to the constitution and understand what it says about the executive’s term of office,” he said, adding that those after their positions should wait until their tenure expires next year.
“The decision to punish the two teams was made by our disciplinary committee purely in the interest of the game and if they have grievances, then they are free to appeal to our appeals body which is independent, rather than call for unnecessary resignations,” said the Sulom head.
“What we are saying is that according to the findings, supporters of the two teams were involved in acts of violence and the rules are very clear that teams shall be responsible for the acts of their fans. The two teams failed to control their supporters,” he said.
He also said the other issue surrounding security deployment were beyond Sulom and are supposed to be handled by security personnel in this case police and stewards.
But Kanyenda yesterday said he is not eyeing any position at Sulom.
“What we are saying is that they are destroying the league and their continued stay for one or more years will ruin the league even further. I mean how many more people must die, how many more games should be abandoned?” Kanyenda asked.
He also said it is wrong for Sulom to distance themselves from the violence when they were part and parcel of the planning.
“Before any game, a pre-match meeting is conducted to strategise on issues such as security. Sulom and police are part of it, why then should they exempt themselves from responsibility?
A meeting involving the executive committee and supporters held at Wanderers Club on Thursday agreed to call for Sulom executive committee’s resignation.
“We are demanding the dissolution of Sulom and FAM should appoint an interim committee comprising one member from each club on an interim basis until fresh elections are held. Otherwise they will ruin Malawi football further,” said Kanyenda
In a separate interview on Friday, Mafuta-Mwale said: “These people must resign, the bottom line is that Sulom leadership must pack up and go.
“We have completely run out of confidence in Sulom. They are the ones causing all these problems because of the way they handled the issue of security. The violence that occurred in Balaka was also not thoroughly investigated.”
He said it was for that reason that they sought Football Association of Malawi’s (FAM) intervention on the issue.
But Big Bullets general secretary Higger Mkandawire has appealed for calm from the affected clubs.
“We do not think calling for Sulom’s resignation is a solution to the problems we have, but rather as clubs, we need to team up and see how best we can address the problems that the league is facing, in particular violence.
“We need to have a forum where, among other things, we should apologise to soccer-loving Malawians and the sponsors of the league for the violence that have been occurring at matches and then brainstorm on how best we can stop this rot,” said Mkandawire.