The international federation of professional footballers FIFPro issued a statement urging immediate action over players who are not being paid their salaries by their clubs, saying that the Malta Football Association is not protecting enough these players.
The statement points out mainly Floriana and another three clubs – Hamrun Spartans, Mosta and Marsaxlokk. It also criticised the Malta Football Association for allowing a person who was banned from football management in England to involve himself in the management of a local club.
“FIFPro demands an immediate solution to the problems of players from Floriana FC and three other Maltese clubs. Players have not been paid for months and are experiencing financial difficulties, while the country’s FA is only window dressing and not really protecting professional footballers.”
“FIFPro has been informed about the worrying situation of several foreign players who joined Floriana FC last summer. These players have been lied to from the first day they arrived on the island. They were made to live in one house, while they had been promised a home of their own. Their salaries have not been paid. They only received one month’s salary and have been waiting in vain for their salaries from September, October, November and December.”
“In December, three players terminated their contract by just cause, making use of their legal right to end a contract after not receiving their wages for two months.”
“The players, supported by the Maltese professional footballers’ association MFPA complained to the Maltese Football Association (MFA). The MFA board came to an agreement with the club and the players. The club promised to pay players the money they were owed. The payments would take place in December and January although, as of yet, Floriana has not paid its players.”
“On Monday February 4th, the MFA board decided to impose a prohibition on Floriana FC signing new players or releasing their current players until all three players get paid in full. In addition, there is an interest charge of 8 per cent on the money due.”
“FIFPro is urging the MFA and the Floriana FC management to come up with a quick solution. Once again, players are victims of incapable management. Three players and their family lives are in total disarray. They are experiencing serious financial problems caused by totally unreliable club management and due to the MFA’s failure to force the club to meet its contractual obligations.”
“The prohibition announced by the MFA is a meaningless sanction as the winter transfer market closed last week. This sanction will not provide the immediate help the players need to receive what they are owed.”
“Floriana FC is not the only club to be hit with a transfer ban. At the same board meeting, three other clubs received a prohibition: Hamrun Spartans FC, Mosta FC (both Premier League) and Marsaxlokk (First Division). The MFPA estimates that approximately up to 80 professional footballers in the Maltese Premier League have not received their full salary.”
“FIFPro has urged Franz Tabone from the Maltese Integrity Office to intervene. Match-fixing is currently a hot issue and FIFPro has warned several times that players coping with serious financial difficulties are more vulnerable to match-fixers. To protect professional footballers and the integrity of professional football in Malta, FIFPro urges Tabone, the Maltese FA and Maltese football clubs to take immediate action and respect the players’ contracts.”
“FIFPro advises the foreign players in question and the Maltese players’ union to take their case to the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber to make sure that they get what they are owed by the clubs. Unfortunately, the Maltese players do not have the possibility to turn to the FIFA DRC; they must find a solution on a national level.”
“FIFPro will keep a close eye on the situation in Malta and will report any abuse to FIFA if the professional footballers’ situation in Malta does not improve drastically.”
“Finally, FIFPro is astonished that a person who has been banned from English club management – because he failed the FA director’s test – can apparently join and run a professional football club in Malta, as is the case at Floriana FC. This has its consequences, as various professional footballers have found out and their family’s lives have been put in jeopardy.”