MFA urges Gozo FA to reconsider decision over relegation

The Council of the Malta Football Association urged the Gozo Football Association to reconsider its decision to have no teams relegated automatically from the First Division and the team ending seventh plays a decider with the runner-up of the Second Division.

Following the demotion of Nadur Youngsters to the Second Division, the GFA approached Second Division runners-up Munxar Falcons regarding the possibility of replacing Nadur in the top division as according to the GFA statute, the team next in line for promotion would have the option. However the association’s offer was turned down. Eventually the other remaining teams in the Second Division were approached and even Sannat Lions who were relegated from the First Division were offered the possibility of playing in the First Division but all teams refused.

During a meeting of the Council of the GFA, clubs agreed to vote on the issue and it was decided that for this season, the First Division would be formed by seven teams and the Second Division by another seven teams and in order to increase the teams for the First Division in season 2016/17 back to eight teams and reduce the teams in the Second Division back to six, this season no teams will be relegated automatically from the First Division but the bottom team – the team placing seventh – would be playing a decider against the runner-up of the Second Division. The Second Division champions would be promoted automatically.

However the MFA Executive Committee discussed the issue and felt that the fact that having no team automatically relegated goes against clause 8b of the statute of the Malta Football Association. The Executive Committee was proposing an alternative solution of having one team relegated from the First Division and two teams promoted from the Second Division.

Speaking in the MFA Council, GFA President Dr Samuel Azzopardi said the GFA was demanding that Gozitan clubs had unanimously agreed to take a vote to decide the matter. He argued that the GFA leagues were not tied to the national league and said that for example, the Sunday Leagues in England do not have any promotion/relegation.

MFA Vice-President Dr Chris Bonnett said that on sometimes, the Council gave one-of concessions but not on issues affecting the integrity of competition. He said the Gozo FA was not in the same position as the Sunday Leagues as these were not affiliated.

Although the MFA Council could not impose a competition rule and could only suggest, the principle of having no relegation was not acceptable.

The Council stressed that there should be at least one relegation from the First Division and one promotion from the Second Division and approved a motion which suggested that Sannat Lions, who were relegated from the First Division, could be re-instated in the First Division.

The Council of the Gozo Football Association is due to meet on Monday.