Blantyre United have announced that they will pull out of the top-flight league due to financial problems.
This is despite Football Association of Malawi (FAM)introducing club licensing, which among others, ensures that only teams that meet conditions to fulfil Super League fixtures are licensed
Last year, Max Bullets also withdrew from Super League, accusing Super League of Malawi (Sulom) of bias in a case in which the team was fined K1 million for causing abandonment of their match against Epac FC.
This time, Blantyre United general secretary Malekano Chisoma says they will not be able to fulfil their remaining fixtures with seven games left before they wrap up the 2017 season.
“Unless a well-wisher comes to bail us out, we will not fulfil our remaining fixtures starting this weekend,” he said.
Anchoring the table with 14 points from 23 matches, United are remaining with matches against Chitipa United, Red Lions, Kamuzu Barracks, Blue Eagles, Civil Sporting, Masters Security and Mzuzu University(Mzuni) FC.
When asked why it is becoming a trend for teams to withdraw from the league mid-season, Sulom general secretary Williams Banda said this is a wake up call for club licensing to be strict.
He said sanctions await the Blantyre-based outfit.
“We have not yet received official communication from the club. But just withdrawing from the league attracts a K2 million fine. If they do not communicate, we will go on as if the matches will be played and if they don’t turn up, more fines await them because we will have spent on organising the matches,” he said.
According to Article 14 subsection seven of the rules and regulations, if a team disbands during the first-round, then all points that were accumulated by playing that disbanded team are deducted.
But subsection 8 says if a team pulls out in the second round, then all remaining teams should get three points and two goals from the matches against the disbanded team.
The same also happened when Max Bullets pulled out last season.
Club licensing manager Casper Jangale yesterday said he was also yet to get official communication from Blantyre United.
“Nevertheless, club licensing is there to ensure that clubs fulfil conditions. Clubs paid K1 million surety as a condition to participate. Failure to complete the season means they have forfeited that money.”
He, however, noted that even the K1 million surety was not good enough.
“Going forward, tough conditions will have to be applied,” he said.
But football analyst Charles Nyirenda said this proved that some teams are not supposed to be in the league.
He said: “Teams should not just join for the sake of joining. What has happened takes away the respect of the top-flight league.
“How can people take us seriously if teams are pulling out of the league mid-season every year? This must stop, otherwise, we will become a laughing stock in the region, if we are not already.” n