The Executive Committee of the Malta Football Association continued to evaluate the complexity of the current situation vis-a-vis the football and futsal competitions, which have been suspended since March 13, in view of the latest economic and health developments regarding the COVID-19 impact.
First and foremost, the Malta FA’s thoughts are with those affected by COVID-19 with the Association reiterating that the health, safety and well-being of players, spectators and all those involved in football as well as the public remains the overriding priority.
Based on its thorough evaluation of the current situation, the Exco today took the decision to end the league competitions organised by the Malta FA, excluding the BOV Premier League and FA Trophy, as well as those run by the Gozo Football Association. The sporting outcome of these competitions i.e.winners, relegation and promotion issues and play-offs, will be decided in due course.
This decision was taken in light of the latest guidance issued by the Government in replying to the Malta FA’s formal request about the viability of the timeframes for the potential restart of the domestic football competitions. In its official reply, the Government stated that it is not in a position to confirm with certainty when the restrictive measures affecting the Malta FA can be lifted.
Beyond the decisions to be taken by the Goverment on the restrictive COVID-19 measures currently in place, the Malta FA is preparing for all eventualities. In this context, the Malta FA’s Medical Unit, the Technical Centre and the Match Operations Department have prepared a detailed medical protocol in the event that sports activities can resume behind closed doors. This onerous medical protocol would have been extremely difficult to implement, both logistically and due to the hefty expenses involved for the lower catagories of domestic football.
Meanwhile, for the BOV Premier League and FA Trophy, which determine the four teams taking part in next season’s UEFA club competitions, the Malta FA will adhere to the recommendations and guidelines issued by UEFA, always taking into account the directives given by the health authorities. A final decision on these two competitions must be made by May 25 – the first deadline established by UEFA.
The decision to terminate the national leagues, which is also intended to lessen the financial impact of COVID-19 on the clubs in these categories, applies to the following competitions:
• BOV First Division
• BOV Second Division
• BOV Third Division
• Youth League and Knock-Out
• GFA BOV First Division and KO competition
• GFA BOV Second Division and KO competition
• GFA Cup
• BOV Women’s League and KO competition
• Women’s Under-19 and KO competition
• Women’s Under-15 and KO competition
• Elite Futsal League and KO competition
• Futsal Amateur League and KO competition
• Gozo Youth FA U-18 League and U-15 KO competition
For those Associations who are seeking to complete the season, subject to the direction given by the health authorities, the deadline to submit the names of the clubs qualifying for next season’s UEFA club competitions is July 20. This deadline applies to those Associations whose UEFA club coefficient is between 16 and 55. Malta’s current UEFA club co-efficient is 45.
In those special cases where the domestic competition is prematurely terminated for legitimate reasons in accordance with the conditions set by UEFA, the National Association concerned must select clubs for the 2020-21 UEFA club competitions based on sporting merit in the 2019/20 domestic competitions. The legitimacy of the decision to prematurely terminate the domestic competition will be scrutinised by a UEFA audit.
NON-LEAGUE AND AMATEUR COMPETITIONS
During Wednesday’s meeting, the Malta FA Exco ratified the position of the Member Associations who have declared the competitions (non-league, amateur and grassroots) for season 2019-20 null and void, excluding those that have already come to their natural conclusion. This decision applies to the competitions organised by MAFA, IASC, GIDA, SWAN, MESA, ISA, Veterans, Masters and the Youth FA