Increasing football violence and hooliganism on the domestic scene could be attributed to Sulom and FAM’s failure to enforce a government blueprint for nipping the malpractice in the bud.
has established that this season witnessed an upsurge in reported top-flight football hooliganism and cases of violence; a recipe for scaring potential sponsors and fans. There were eight reported cases as opposed to five last season.
The increase coincides with the football authorities’ laissez faire attitude towards a blueprint the then Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, through a task force, produced in April 2005 titled ‘Operating Manual for Curbing Hooliganism and Related Violence at Sports Venues.”
Few recommendations from the four-paged report, developed after fighting that punctuated a CAF Champions League game between Bakili Bullets and Nigeria’s Enyimba FC on October 10 2004, are being implemented.
The report strongly recommended that entry tickets should be sold several days before the match, sale of alcohol within and near the premises of the game should be discouraged, and stopped forthwith and all perpetrators must be brought to book,.. “possession of items such as glass bottles, green maize and anything capable of being thrown into the football pitch or stands must be discouraged.”
It further declared that “all entrants to the stadium and main facility must be searched prior to their entry and prohibited substance such as alcohol, Indian hemp, or intoxicating drugs must be confiscated and the culprits arrested.”
The football authorities have also failed to apply the suggestion that any person other than players, team leaders and match officials accessing dressing rooms and areas around the changing rooms be barred before and after matches.
Fans also move freely on all terraces against the report’s recommendation that “movement of spectators should be restricted to areas within the same stand. The clubs also take the blame for not adhering to a recommendation to introduce membership and identification cards for their supporters.
Sulom has so far scored on the recommendation that clubs be held responsible for the behaviour of their supporters for any wrong doing.
FAM, whose chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda could not pick calls, also applies the pre-sale of tickets for some international games.
Sulom general secretary Williams Banda blamed clubs for lack of transition which makes it difficult for new office-bearers to apply some recommendations, including educating supporters on dangers of hooliganism.
Jameson Ndalama, the ministry’s director of sports, on Tuesday insisted that most recommendations were implemented between 2005 and 2010 and admitted that there is some slackening of enforcement.
“Most of the recommendations were implemented, but for others, there were limitations. I can accept that as a football nation we somehow relaxed. The plan is there for the implementors. It seems people drifted into the comfort zone, but when we feel there is need to enforce this, we will tell the associations,” Ndalama noted.
Chairperson of stewards, Pascal Nkuta, on Tuesday insisted that there were strides in managing violence, adding “as I am talking to you, I am drafting proposals to FAM for them to accommodate us next season in training sessions and seminars in crowd controlling.”
On Thursday, Nyirenda said he was not working for the association when the report came out in 2005, “but we implement most of the recommendations such as barring those drunk and selling of advance tickets for international matches.”
Last season, Big Bullets chief supporters Geoffrey Mbalati, Frank Msiska and Mighty Wanderers’ Yona Malunga vowed to curb violence by “reaching out to the fans through the zone” but nothing much has been done.
This season’s cases of violence and hooliganism include: Silver Strikers vs Epac (both victims), Red Lions vs Silver Strikers (victims), Kamuzu Barracks vs Epac (victims), Big Bullets vs Epac (victims), Mighty Wanderers vs Big Bullets (both victims), Mighty Wanderers vs Blue Eagles (victims), Big Bullets vs Super Eagles (victims) and Flames vs Chad (victims).