3 TNM Super League referees suspended over unprofessional officiation

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Three top referees have been suspended from officiating football matches in the TNM Super League in Malawi due to their poor performances. 

The three, Michael Mwambyale and Mark Dzikambasekwa, have received six-month suspensions, while Alfred Chilinda has been banned for four months. 

Chilinda (3rdR) captured in the line of duty before the Civo versus Bullets match

The Football Association of Malawi (Fam) communicated the punishment to the referees and other stakeholders through a letter dated June 20, 2023.

The Referees Subcommittee of Fam held a meeting on June 17 and found the three referees guilty of influencing the results of their respective matches. 

Michael Mwambyale, who officiated the match between Mighty Tigers and Mighty Mukuru Wanderers, was criticized for denying Kau-Kau a clear goal and for failing to send off a player, Christopher Kumwembe, who received two yellow cards during the match.

The letter addressed to Mwambyale stated, “I write to inform you that during a referee committee meeting held on Saturday, June 17th, 2023, members agreed to suspend you from officiation of football matches for six months with effect from June 18th, 2023.”

Mwambyale expressed his acceptance of the decision and stated that he respected the committee’s judgment.

“I respect the decision of the committee and I am not bitter. Life must go on,” he said.

Mark Dzikambasekwa, who served as the fourth official in the same match, was found guilty of not assisting the referee by failing to report incidents occurring during the game. 

The letter addressed to him highlighted his failure to control the technical area, resulting in a fracas during the match. 

Dzikambasekwa expressed his dissatisfaction with the punishment, considering it a selective justice.

“I am not happy with the decision. This is selective justice. I expected the whole set to be punished. I am just a victim of circumstances,” Dzimbasekwa said.

Alfred Chilinda was found to have influenced the outcome of the match between Civil Service United and FCB Nyasa Bullets, which ended in a 1-1 draw. 

The letter addressed to Chilinda mentioned his poor performance in the match, including the failure to award a goal, a penalty kick, and ignoring a clear handball within the penalty area. 

FCB Nyasa Big Bullets players look surprised with Chilinda’s (in black) decision in their game against Civo

’’The suspension follows your dismal performance in the match you officiated on May 7, 2023. According to the assessor’s report, you failed to award a goal to Civo in the 30th minute of the match. You also failed to award a penalty kick to Bullets in the 49th minute. In the 57th minute, you waved play on for a clear handball committed by a Civo player within his penalty area,’’ the letter reads.

Commenting on the issue, Chris Kalichero, the General Secretary of the National Referees Association, emphasized that this punishment should serve as a wake-up call for all referees in the country. 

“This is a wakeup call to all our referees wherever they are. Our expectation is that they will discharge their duties professionally all the time,’’ Kalichero said.

Incidents of poor officiation have been prevalent in the Super League, leading to disagreements among players, officials, and spectators due to questionable decisions made by the referees.

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