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Players, coaches lack guidance on COVID-19 quarantine, MFPA says

The Malta Football Players Association issued a statement in reply to the Malta FA’s response to the players’ union remarks over the COVID-19 testing medical protocol and made it clear that its main objective was to highlight the huge concern being expressed by players and coaches on COVID-19 quarantine rules.

At the moment, every person who undergoes a COVID-19 swab test is asked to stay in quarantine for 14 days.

Birkirkara FC announced on Tuesday, that they will be forced to pull out of the Premier League opener against Valletta next month should the authorities fail to give their permission for their first-team squad end their quarantine period.

“Let’s be clear, with the statement issued yesterday, we did not wish to infer that MFA has not done, or is not still doing, anything in connection to COVID-19,” the MFPA said in a statement.

“That is not the case.

“Our statement was specific to the issue to an important issue, that of quarantine and concerns of players and coaches.

“As player representatives, MFPA is responsible to convey the message of the frustration of its own members. Some players are currently under quarantine far from family, not able to train or work.

“Our members are seriously worried because they do not know what will happen if after they return from quarantine, the same thing repeats itself again. Not to mention the fact that players under quarantine (most of the time whole squads) will definitely not be match fit in September without a proper pre-season.”

The MFPA said that they are disappointed they had to resort to a public statement to make their voice heard.

“Unfortunately, we had to resort to a public statement, not because we chose to be absent in collaborative discussions, but because we are not included in any discussion,” the players’ union said.

“We have had direct reports from coaches and players, stating that their respective clubs did not know what needed to be done in these circumstances and that there were inconsistencies in the number of quarantine days requested.

“It is our duty to keep asking the hard questions: How can the league start when you have whole squads on 14-day quarantine without training? What will happen if once they return from quarantine another player/official/coach is found positive, will the entire squad have to go back into 14-day quarantine? What about those players who have other employment apart from football?”

The MFPA ended its statement by sending an appeal to the authorities to guide the MFA and the MFA on how to develop a clear protocol.

“We appeal to the health authorities to guide the MFA and us on how to develop a clear protocol outlining the procedure when one player tests positive so that league competitions can commence in September,” the MFPA said.

“Where there is one single player infected the entire team cannot be ordered to spend 14 days in quarantine. With this measure, it’s almost impossible for leagues to start.

“The specificity of sport and its particular needs should be considered in these circumstances.”

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