Maltese football teams are grappling with a controversial and unprecedented decision taken by the Malta Football Association Council this week, with some teams seeking legal advice in the wake of it.
“I wanted to leave within five minutes of being in that meeting when I saw how things were going,” Michael Valenzia, technical director for Birkirkara FC said during a discussion on Lovin Malta’s show #CovidCalls.
He was joined by ONE Radio journalist Clinton Buhagiar and Valletta FC vice-president Alexander Fenech. On his part, Fenech described the MFA’s decision as “one of the strangest decisions ever, one that goes against all sporting justice”.
Valenzia went on to say that his team were seeking legal advice following a controversial decision taken by the MFA that saw Floriana FC crowned this year’s Premier League champions. The Greens were ahead by three points when the league came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic – however, they were handed the win when nearly 63% of the teams assembled to vote gave them the league.
Another decision to scrap relegation and keep Tarxien Rainbows in the Premier League has also caused controversy.
“Tarxien Rainbows were kept in the league so we are at an even number, and not an odd one. It that’s the criteria that Maltese football is following, then we have major issues,” Valenzia said.
Some teams may even forego playing in international matches as uncertainty over current and future health procedures remains. With Maltese teams unsure how local games will proceed, they are even more hesitant when it comes to playing internationally.
This week’s controversial decision has seen Malta’s football scene thrown into the spotlight.
Following the decision, a crowd of Floriana fans gathered to celebrate, breaking social distancing rules and causing a national backlash.
“After seeing some incredible manoeuvres, I just cannot have faith in the leadership of the MFA anymore,” Valletta FC vice-president Fenech said, before describing the vote that took place as “turkeys voting for Christmas”.
He also said that had Valletta won the league, there would have been celebrations as well, but not en masse as was seen this week.
The economic feasibility of the Premier League was brought up as well. The league costs more to put on than it makes, with individual donors oftentimes plugging the financial gaps. However, with COVID-19 making everyone tighten their belt, it’s unsure how long this patronage can last.