Step up or we will remove you- FAM warns referees

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The Football Association of Malawi (FAM) says it will not tolerate incompetence from elite referees ahead of the 2024 season, saying failure to work effectively will leave the association with no choice but to remove individuals messing up the game deliberately.

General Secretary for the association, Alfred Gunda made the remarks during the closing ceremony of a three-day referees refresher course at Chiwembe Technical Centre on Wednesday afternoon ahead of the 2024 season.

FAM organized the course for the Elite referees and Assessors in all three regions in preparation for the 2024 football season, which kicks off this weekend.

Gunda said the association thought it wise to organize the course as one way of helping the assessors and elite referees improve their work.

“We have conducted this course to remind our referees about some of the things that should be happening when discharging their duties. Football is evolving with a new set of rules and we thought it wise to train them before the new season so that they are conversant with the laws of the game to improve their performances throughout the season,” he said.

He also gave a worthwhile piece of advice to the participants to step up in their line of duty, saying the country’s soccer governing body will not tolerate incompetence this time around.

“FAM will not allow continuous underperformance of referees in our game. As part of transforming the game, we will not hesitate to remove any referee who will deliberately try to mess up the most loved game.

“We have plenty of individuals who can step up and do the job. Through the assessors, we will only be having referees who are competent to take charge of our games. Failure to improve will see the association dropping referees for good,” he added.

He was also quick to promise the referees that the association would push to deal with some of the challenges highlighted by the participants through their representative, Mayamiko Kanjere.

“As FAM, we are mindful that resources are never enough and we have taken note that there is indeed a need for us to address these challenges. One of the issues highlighted was the lack of uniforms for our referees. We will sit down as an association to map the way forward. We are also engaging would-be partners to dress our referees so that they have everything at their disposal,” he explained.

FIFA Futuro Referees Instructor and CAF Referees Assessor Micheal Makoto hailed the new leadership at FAM for organising such an important event to prepare the referees for the new season.

“We thought it wise to have these trainings in all the three regions in readiness for the new season. This refresher course will fully prepare our referees for the season ahead in the elite league because we have tackled a lot of areas ranging from match control, offsides, penalties and many more.

“So we have taught all the participants to be in full control of matches they are officiating to avoid chaos by using laws governing the game. We are very grateful to the new FAM leadership for organising such an important event to sharpen our referees who are one of the key stakeholders in the game of football,” he said.

Kanjere echoed Makoto’s words by thanking FAM for conducting the workshop. He also accepted FAM’s challenge for a better performance in the new season.

“Very important course for us to improve our work. This is the first of its kind for Referees and Assessors to be trained in one place before a new season. This will make us more effective in service delivery and we are promising FAM that we have accepted their challenge for a better performance in the new season,” he concluded.

The course was first held in the Central Region from 18 to 20 March. From 27 to 29 March, the refresher course was conducted in the Northern Region before concluding with another three-day workshop in the Southern Region from 1st April to 3rd April 2024.

All the referees who passed their fitness test attended the workshop.

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