The Executive Committee of the Malta Football Association will be meeting on May 18 to decide whether the BOV Premier League and the FA Trophy will be completed or not.
Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Malta Football Association had suspended competitions, on March 12, until March 23. This suspension was extended until April 5 but on March 30, competition were indefinitely suspended.
On April 9, the association decided to focus on completing the BOV Premier League, FA Trophy, BOV Women’s League and the Futsal League, stating that the BOV First, Second and Third Division Leagues, the Amateur Futsal League, Youth Leagues and the GFA leagues, Cup and Knock-Out could recommence at a later date. Amateur leagues organised by the Member Associations, the Youth FA and the Gozo Youth FA were brought to an end.
However on April 29, the Malta Football Association decided to terminate all league and knock-out competitions, excluding the BOV Premier League and FA Trophy, as well as those run by the Gozo Football Association.
Over the past days, clubs did not agree on the way forward. The majority of the members of the Premier League Clubs Standing Committee were in favour of stopping the competitions altogether. Leaders Floriana abstained. On the other hand, Birkirkara, Gzira United and Valletta are against bringing the league to an end and proposed the date of the 10th June for the commencement of training sessions and the 1st July for the resumption of the league.
The Malta Football Association will be meeting the health authorities before the Executive Committee meeting as it is only the the health authorities which could give the go-ahead for training and competitions to resume.
By May 25, the Malta Football Association will have to inform UEFA on whether the 2019/20 season will be completed or not and by July 20, they should inform the European body the four clubs who will be representing Malta in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League.
While announcing a partial relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions on May 1, Prime Minister Robert Abela had announced that further restrictions would be lifted in three weeks’ time.
Earlier this week, when asked whether football training could resume in June, Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci said it was still too early to say what will happen in June, adding that the authorities had to act with caution when lifting measures.
UEFA urged National Associations and Leagues to explore all possible options to play all top domestic competitions giving access to UEFA club competitions to their natural conclusion. However, UEFA stated that if this was not possible, it would require the National Association concerned to select clubs for the UEFA club competitions 2020/21 based on sporting merit in the 2019/20 domestic competitions.
With six matches to go, Floriana lead the way with 41 points, followed by Valletta on 38, Hibernians 37 and Sirens 35. Birkirkara and Gzira United follow with 33 points and 32 points respectively.
It is believed that the MFA has presented a medical protocol to the health authorities to ensure everything is in place should football is given the go-ahead to resume.
Matches would definitely be played behind closed doors, probably in three stadia – the National Stadium, the Centenary Stadium and the Victor Tedesco Stadium – with no back-to-back matches. The venues would have to fumigated daily after their use.
On the other hand, in case the league is not resumed, an important issue is whether there will be promotion and relegation. The issue with regards to the other leagues which have already been terminated has not been decided yet with the association saying that the sporting outcome of these competitions i.e. winners, relegation and promotion issues and play-offs, will be decided in due course.
Lying at the bottom of the BOV Premier League table, Tarxien Rainbows had already been mathematically relegated.
In the BOV First Division, Zejtun Corinthians led the way with 38 points, followed by Lija Athletic on 36 and Qrendi on 35. Mqabba and St. George’s shared the bottom spot with Vittoriosa Stars lying third from bottom.
Marsa led the way in the BOV Second Division on 40 points, followed by Marsaxlokk and San Gwann on 38 with the Southseasiders having a game in hand. The bottom three were Birzebbuga St. Peter’s, Xghajra Tornados and Luqa St. Andrew’s.
On the other hand, Attard were the leaders of the BOV Third Division on 40 points, followed by Kirkop United, Siggiewi and Gharghur on 33 points.
In Gozo, Nadur Youngsters were declared champions of the BOV Gozo Football League First Division while Sannat Lions were declared champions of the Second Division.