Some Super League of Malawi (Sulom) teams have cried foul over the way the league is handling fixtures.
They say it is a recipe for match-fixing while Sulom has warned clubs and officials against being tempted to fix matches as the chase for the title heads towards the climax.
Sulom general secretary Williams Banda said on Monday that as the league heads towards the conclusion, there is a possibility that some teams could be tempted to fix matches to either win the title or avoid relegation.
“We will not tolerate that because match-fixing is clandestine and detrimental to the development of the game. We will keep our eyes wide open and ears to the ground. We are, therefore, appealing to clubs and match officials alike to take a firm line so as not to put our game into disrepute,” said Banda.
He said match-fixing is a serious offence that attracts stiff punishment including life bans, suspension, forfeiting of points and even conviction.
Banda also said while there were allegations of match-fixing against defending champions Silver Strikers last season, they were not proven.
“The element of match-fixing was not really proved. That is why action was not taken against the culprits, but all stakeholders need to realise that we are serious about it and we will be writing all the clubs on the same in due course,” he said.
He also said Fifa is urging its member associations to take a hardline on match-fixing, which has been on the rise in recent past.
While hailing Sulom for warning clubs against the vice, some clubs have said the way the league is handling fixtures could encourage the malpractice.
Big Bullets general secretary Higger Mkandawire and his Mighty Wanderers counterpart David Kanyenda, whose sides are still in contention for the title, cited the exemption of Silver from league games when they have two to three games in hand.
Said Mkandawire: “It is good that Sulom has come out to warn all stakeholders over the possibility of match-fixing, but at the same time we are surprised that the league is exempting Silver from games. This has the potential to encourage match-fixing.
“Why were Silver on bye at the weekend, when they have played lesser games? The situation is not healthy as the league heads towards the climax.”
On his part Kanyenda said: “Indeed, imagine Silver have played 20 games and yet last week they were on bye when other teams have played 25 matches already.
“The situation puts Silver at an advantage, because they know how many games they need to win to wrap up the title. One can safely argue that they [Sulom] have already fixed the league in favour of Silver.”
He appealed to Sulom to ensure that the gap in number of games played is minimal.
However, Silver chairperson Dr. McDonald Mafuta-Mwale argued that the situation is not out of their making.
“We are equally not comfortable with the situation because it puts us under unnecessary pressure. We were actually surprised that we did not have a game at the weekend,” said Mafuta-Mwale.
The Sulom GS said they will try their best to address the situation.
“The clubs need to understand that the fixtures were affected by the national team’s participation at the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup as well as the international friendly match against South Africa,” said Banda.
He cited games between Silver and Kamuzu Barracks as well as Epac, Blue Eagles and Epac, Mafco and Escom and Wanderers versus Azam Tigers as some of the games that were affected.
Banda assured that they will reschedule the games.
“We want to see to it that when Silver travel to the Southern Region, they should play two games and not one as is indicated on the fixture. They did not have games because there was already a prepared fixture that we had to follow, but we will do something about it,” he said.