Ban on training lifted as from May 10

Professional contact-sports training, including football, will be able to resume as from May 10 as part of a number of COVID-19 measures which will be relaxed. This was announced by Prime Minister Robert Abela during a press conference on Sunday in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Dr Chris Fearne and Superintendent for Health Prof. Charmaine Gauci.

This means that the clubs taking part in the UEFA club competitions could start their pre-season training while the national teams could also start their training ahead of the forthcoming commitments.

Draws for the first two qualifying rounds of the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa Conference League are expected to be held on June 15/16 with the actual games scheduled for July 6/7 (first leg) and 13/14 (second leg) for the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round, July 8 (first leg) and 15 (second leg) for the UEFA Europa Conference League first qualifying round.

Photo: Copyright Mark Zammit Cordina/MFA

In fact, all rounds will be held once again on two legs after the exceptional editions of last year when the early rounds of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League were held in single legs.

The Malta national team will start training ahead of the forthcoming European Qualifiers in autumn. The team will be travelling to Austria for a training camp in late May/early June, during which two friendly matches could be played.

In September, Malta hosts Cyprus at Ta’ Qali followed by two matches away from home against Slovenia and Russia. In October, Malta hosts Slovenia and then travels to Cyprus. The last two matches are two home fixtures against Croatia and Slovakia.

The Malta Under-21 national team could also join the senior side for the training camp in Austria, in view of the UEFA Under-21 qualifiers in programme later this year.

The Under-21 side hosts Northern Ireland in September, followed by a match away from home against Russia. Two away fixtures against Lithuania and Slovakia are in programme in October while the last two matches for 2021 are in November against Spain at home and Northern Ireland away from home.

Autumn will be busy for the other national teams as well.

The Malta Under-19 side will be playing against Ukraine, Poland and Finland in a UEFA Under-19 Championship qualifying round mini-tournament in Poland between October 6 and 12.

During the same dates, the Malta Under-17 side will be hosting the UEFA Under-17 Championship qualifying round mini-tournament which features Turkey, Denmark and Montenegro.

The Malta women’s national team will be taking part in the 2023 FIFA World Cup qualifiers later this year. Draws will be held on Thursday.

On the other hand, the Malta women’s Under-19 national team will be hosting mini-tournament from League B between October 20 and 26. Also taking part in the tournament are Israel, Romania and Georgia.

Organised sport had been banned since March 11 and this led to the termination of all competitions organised by the Malta FA.

Associations organising non-contact sport were given the green light to hold competitions under strict medical protocols but without the presence of any fans.