Hibernians request to delay Assikura Women’s Knock-Out final by an hour rejected

A request by Hibernians to postpone the Assikura Women’s Knock-Out final against Birkirkara by an hour due to a number of players finishing their SEC exams at the same time of the kick-off was rejected.

In a statement, the Paolites said “Hibernians FC regrets to announce that despite our earnest efforts, our request for a change in fixture for the upcoming Women’s Knockout Final has not been upheld.”

“On Saturday some of our players will be sitting for their SEC Examinations, which session will finish at 18:00, the same time of the Kick Off . Unfortunately, for the girls, this causes an inevitable dilemma between academic responsibilities and sporting achievements.”

“The club has sent the Malta Football Association (MFA) a fair and justified request for a change in the time of Kick Off by 1 hour. Such request emphasizes the significance of accommodating these circumstances to maintain the integrity of the final and ensure a level playing field for both teams. Regrettably, our plea was not upheld, and more surprisingly, our opponents, Birkirkara FC, did not support our appeal for a change in fixture.”

“We sincerely hope that both MFA and Birkirkara FC reconsider their position, so that we can play a final in a fair level field.”

The Malta Football Association replied “Reference is made to media reports on the scheduling of the Assikura Women’s Knock-Out Final on Saturday 27th April 2024.”

“While the Association understands that at times players are faced with such clashes in timing, considering that this is a senior competition and that a multitude of matches are played during periods when examinations are held, it is not practicable that all permutations can be taken into consideration when scheduling matches.”

“In this specific instance, the Malta FA has no objection to shift the kick-off time if both clubs are in agreement.”

On the other hand, Birkirkara said “In response to the statement by Hibernians FC, our opponents in this Saturday’s Knockout final, the club aims to provide clarification to prevent any misrepresentation in the media.”

“The Club would like to clarify that on December 27, 2023, exactly four months prior to the Women’s Knockout Final, the Fixtures Department of the Women’s Sector of the Malta Football Association released a draft calendar for all clubs, including Birkirkara FC and Hibernians FC. This draft clearly indicated that the Women’s Knockout Final was scheduled for April 27, 2024.”

“The Matsec – University of Malta published the draft versions of the MAIN/FIRST 2024 session timetables at the beginning of October 2023, making them readily available online. By the end of February, all students received the confirmed schedule via postal mail.”

“Therefore, at this stage, nearly two months ago, Hibernians FC had access to information regarding both the date of the Women’s Knockout Final and the O-level schedule. It was the responsibility of Hibernians FC to ensure that none of their players had any O-levels scheduled for this date.”

“On April 15, 2024, the Fixtures Department of the Malta Football Association released the fixtures for the Women’s Knockout Semi-Final and Final. At that time, all involved clubs were informed that the final’s kick-off time was scheduled for 6pm.”

“Despite having this information at hand, including the kick-off time of the final and the O-levels schedule, Hibernians FC failed to notify the Malta Football Association of their players’ O-levels schedule.”

“It was only after Hibernians’ victory in the semi-final, nearly a week later, when our team had all arrangements in place, including training schedules, player leave arrangements, and the day’s program for the final, that a representative from Hibernians FC requested a change in the kick-off time.”

“The Club would like to remind the general public that the majority of the team’s players are amateurs. Any changes to the kick-off time would have caused inconvenience to several players who had already arranged their leave hours months in advance and would now need to adjust them.”

“In view of this, taking into consideration the huge amount of time that Hibernians FC had to notify the Malta Football Association about this but they failed to do so, the club decided to abide with the 6pm kick-off time.”

“The Club acknowledges the statement issued by the Malta Football Association and wishes to remind all concerned parties that had Hibernians FC notified the association of their request within the four-month period, the decision would not have fallen upon the club. However, our stance remains to honor the original kick-off time, considering that no objections were raised during the entire week following the confirmation of kick-off time and four months from when the date of the match was communicated.”

“In addition to the details mentioned in the club’s statement, we would like to put on record that during the 2023/2024 season, the club requested to have four (4) fixtures changed for various reasons, as communicated to the Malta Football Association. One such request involved our match in the Assikura Women’s League against Hibernians FC played on the 2nd March 2024, where we sought an hour earlier kick-off time. However, this request was rejected by the MFA.”

“The Club shall be making no further comment on this issue and would like to encourage all the supporters to come to the stadium and support the team. Tickets are available online from https://tickets.mfa.com.mt/