The Council of the Malta Football Association approved a number of changes to the statute of the association, namely the Regulations Regarding Players Registered with Member Clubs; the Competition Rules, the Rules Governing Youth Football Competitions, the Rules Governing The Women’sFootball Competitions of the Malta Football Association and the Rules Governing the Malta Football Association Trophy Competition.
The number of foreign players who could play in Premier League matches will remain four while three could play in First Division matches. On the other hand, only one foreign player could play in Second and Third Division matches as from this season.
Exempt from these rules are players who played for at least four years in the youth sector of the Malta Football Association or Gozo Football Association.
The rule stating that Second and Third Division clubs could only sign one player aged 35 and over was abolished.
As regards the eligibility of players in the Youth League:
– Players Born 1994 and 1995 + 6 Over Age 1993 and 3 Under 17 players which have attained their 16th Birthday are eligible to play in Section A
– Players Born 1993, 1994 and 1995 + 6 Over Age 1992 and 3 Under 17 players which have attained their 16th Birthday are eligible to play in Section B.
– Players Born 1993, 1994 and 1995 + 6 Over Age 1992 and all players who have attained their 16th Birthday on the day of the match are eligible to play in Sections C and D.
Therefore in Sections A and B, teams could use not more than three Under-17 players aged 16 while there there were no changes in Sections C and D where clubs could use not more than six players who are at least 19 years old but under the age of 20.
For season 2012/13 and 2013/14, players born 1997 who are part of the Malta Under-17 National Team shall not be eligible to take part in Youth Competitions.
As from 2013/14, while Sections A, B and C will be played once again with ten teams, the number of teams in Section D will be ten with the remaining teams playing in Section E. For this reason, the last eight teams in Section D in season 2012/13 will be relegated to Section E.
There will no longer be two Youth Knock-Out competitions. The Youth Knock-Out Competition will be open for all teams in the Youth League. The first round will be reserved for teams in Sections C, D and E with other clubs entering the competition at a later stage.
Sections A and B will be played between October 17 and May 2, on Wednesdays and Thursdays, while Sections C and D will be played between September 3 and May 1, on Mondays and Tuesdays. All matches will be played at 20:00 at the different venues, except for the Centenary Stadium which will also host matches at 18:00.
In the Women’s League, eight teams will play in the First Division with the remaining teams playing in the Second Division – the format of which would be decided each season, depending on the number of participants.
As regards the FA Trophy, a preliminary round will be played, if there are more than 64 teams taking part, in order to reduce to 24 the number of teams in the First Round.
Twelve teams qualify from the First Round to the Second Round so that the number of clubs in the Second Round is 40. In the Third Round, the twenty teams which qualify join the twelve Premier League clubs for a total of 32 teams. Top six teams in the Premier League last season are seeded in the third round.