The clubs forming part of the Malta Premier League voted in favour of a new format for the Premier League for the coming five years.
The new format is based on the system which is widely used in South America with the league divided in two rounds – the Opening Round and the Closing Round – together with the possibility of play-offs.
In the Opening Round, the twelve teams will play on a one-round league basis before the teams will be divided into two groups of six with both groups playing on a one-round league basis. In the Closing Round, the twelve teams will once again play on a one-round league basis before the teams will be once again divided into two groups of six with both groups playing on a one-round league basis.
The team ending on top in the Opening Round and the team ending on top in the Closing Round will face each other in a championship play-off. If the same team ends on top both the Opening and the Closing Rounds, they would be declared champions.
With regards to participation in European football, the team ending on top in the Opening Round or in the Closing Round would be guaranteed a place in Europe. The other team/teams would emerge from play-offs involving the teams placing second or third in either the Opening Round or Closing Round.
Two teams will be relegated at the end of the season. If the same two teams end both the Opening Round and the Closing Round in the bottom two places, they would be relegated. Otherwise play-offs would be necessary between teams ending the bottom two places in either the Opening Round and the Closing Round.
The proposal will be submitted to the Executive Board of the Malta Football Association following the discussions which were already held with the Malta FA administration.
In South American countries, the Apertura and Clausura tournaments is a split season format which sees the traditional football season from August to May divided in two sections per season, usually each with its own champion although in some cases, play-offs would determine an overall champion.
This system is used in Bolivia, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela and was used up to a few years ago in Argentina and Chile. The system is also being used in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama.
The only European country to try this system was Belgium in its second tier between 2016/17 and 2019/20. Other countries like Canada, Japan and South Korea had tested this format but this was later scrapped.