MFA to meet FIGC over Pietro Ghedin

The Malta Football Association will be discussing with the Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio the possibility of releasing Pietro Ghedin from his present contract as Italy’s women’s national team coach at an earlier stage as the MFA aims to appoint him as the new Malta national team coach. This was announced by MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo during a meeting of the Council of the Malta Football Association on Tuesday.

Darmanin Demajo explained that after Dusan Fitzel decided to stay in the Czech Republic, Pietro Ghedin, who was in Malta for a coaching seminar, proved to be at the right place at the right time and following discussions between the two parties, he expressed interest in the job although he is still under contract with the FIGC as women’s national team coach until June.

The MFA President said that the association will now hold discussions with the FIGC, asking them to release him from his contract after the Italian women’s national team plays against Russia on April 4.

MFA Chief Executive Officer Bjorn Vassallo said he was confident the two associations would reach an agreement.

If an agreement is reached, Ghedin would be offered a contract as national team coach for the next two competitions – the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the EURO 2016.

This contract would mark a return for Pietro Ghedin to Malta after coaching the Malta Under-21 side and senior national team. In 24 matches as Malta coach between 1993 and 1995, Ghedin led the team to four wins and five draws.

On his return to Italy, Ghedin was appointed as assistant coach of the Italian national team with coach Cesare Maldini in the 1998 World Cup, with Dino Zoff in the EURO 2000 and finally with Giovanni Trapattoni in the 2002 World Cup and EURO 2004. He then led the Olympic team in the Mediterranean Games before being appointed as women’s national team coach in 2005.

Meanwhile problems between former national coaches John Buttigieg and Carmel Busuttil and the Malta Football Association have not been solved yet although the association made the payments to the two coaches believed to amount to a total of around €112,000.

Following the last Council meeting which was held in January, the MFA wrote to Buttigieg and Busuttil. However the coaches’ lawyer replied, stating that the judicial protest could not be considered as legal action and said that his clients were not granted a fair hearing when their licence was suspended.

According to the statute of the Malta Football Association, legal action against someone in the football family leads to an automatic suspension.

Youth FA President Fr Hilary Tagliaferro tried to act as a mediator.

After the association made the payments to the two coaches, the MFA received another letter by the lawyer of the two coaches on February 17, stating that the two coaches did not recognise the breach of the statute and were asking the Council to withdraw the suspension.

The situation has therefore reached a stalemate as the Council was ready to lift the suspension had the two coaches accepted the fact that the statute had been breached.