Malawi Police have been told to arrest supporters found at stadiums during football matches following restrictions on public gatherings.
On Tuesday, the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 announced a restriction of a public gathering to 100 as one way of controlling the spreading of the virus in the festive season.
The development means football fans will not be allowed to watch matches live, starting with the weekend’s fixtures in all the regions.
Today, Sulom has released a statement which has given power to the law enforcers to arrest anyone found watching matches at any football venue.
“It will be a misconduct to find supporters around Stadium premises and law enforcers are advised to arrest all those found loitering within Stadium premises without due responsibility. All those duly sanctioned to provide services will be accredited.
“By copy of this letter, Malawi Police Service is humbly requested to facilitate implementation of the Presidential Task Force directives around all our stadiums,” reads part of the statement.
Sulom has also advised clubs and match officials to adhere to all Covid-19 guidelines at all venues as per the Task Force guidelines.
“We would like to remind Clubs and match officials to mask up, wash hands, sanitise and social distance. We wish to advise that safety and security of match venues should be enhanced to ensure that supporters follow proceedings at home,” Sulom said.
Reacting to the news, BE Forward Wanderers Supporters General Secretary Sam Mponda said the decision is a blow to the club which now relies heavily on gate revenue for its day to day activities.
“We are losing our sponsors next week and the only source of revenue was through the gate revenues and now fans have been banned from watching matches at the stadiums, how are we going to survive? This is a blow to us and we dont where to start from. We are pleading with Government to reverse this decision. Why should only target football? How about those political rallies? Is Covid-19 found at football matches only? This decision has to be challenged,” he said.
This means for the next two weeks, matches will be played without spectators.
It is also likely that the big Blantyre derby will be played without fans on 2 January, 2021.
The ongoing season, which was scheduled to kick off in March, was suspended by the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) following bans on public gatherings by the then head of state Peter Mutharika.