Football Association of Malawi (FAM) says the match involving Karonga United and Be Forward Wanderers in the FDH Cup Round 32 will still be played at Mzuzu Stadium despite an earlier threat from Karonga United to withdraw from the competition due to sudden change of venue.
On Tuesday, FAM confirmed to have changed the match venue from Karonga Stadium to Mzuzu Stadium saying the initial venue is not in good condition to host an elite match as per the FAM Club Licensing regulations and FAM Covid-19 Football Re-Start Guidelines after it was vandalized on Sunday, 20th June 2021.
“With the match just four days away, we are now of the view that the dames cannot be renovated for re-inspection and re-certification, as per the FAM Club Licensing regulations, in time for the said match.
“It is against this background that the FAM Competitions Committee, as guided by article 8.1 of the FDH Rules and Regulations, has fixed the match at Mzuzu Stadium on Saturday 26th June 2021. All other protocols for the match will proceed as arranged,” Gunda said.
This did not go well with the club which responded by telling FAM that they were pulling out of the competition.
And hours after receiving the letter from Karonga United, FAM has responded with a warning to the team, which, among other things, faces a yearlong ban from every competition organized by the association, saying a deliberate violation of the Club Licensing regulations as well as the 2021 FDH Cup Rules and Regulations will attract heavy sanctions as per article 4 of the 2021 FDH Cup Rules and Regulations.
“We would like to remind Karonga United on its signed commitment to adhere to Club Licensing regulations as well as the 2021 FDH Cup Rules and Regulations and we expect the Club to respect the decision of FAM in the matter at hand.
“Withdrawing from the competition at this level is not allowed and doing so attracts heavy sanctions as per article 4 of the 2021 FDH Cup Rules and Regulations which includes a yearlong ban from all Association football competitions in Malawi.
“FAM hereby advises that it will proceed to schedule the match at Mzuzu Stadium on Saturday 26th June 2021 at 14:30 hours and we expect all the concerned parties to follow the match programme as per the Rules and Regulations,” reads the statement from FAM signed by General Secretary Alfred Gunda.
The club, through its Chairman Mathews Tulombolombo announced the team’s decision to withdraw from the competition following FAM’s last minute decision to move the game to Mzuzu Stadium, saying the decision was made without any assessment report to show that the facility in mention was damaged during the fracas involving Karonga United supporters and Malawi Police on Sunday during a Super League match against Silver Strikers.
“You cannot make any decision without an assessment report which justifies your decision. We have experienced worst hooliganism in Blantyre, fighting, yelling obscenities or throwing objects into the field, breaking of glasses and perimeter walls at Kamuzu Stadium, recently during Wanderers FC and Nyasa Big Bullets but such decisions were not made up to today, let’s treat each other fairly and equally.”
“Thus, since you have decided to shift our game to Mzuzu Stadium without proper justification, as Karonga United family, we are withdrawing from FDH Bank Knockout Cup competition forthwith. It’s a painful decision but we don’t have any other option,” reads part of the statement released by the club on Wednesday morning.