The COVID-19 pandemic is starting to hurt Maltese football after the Malta Football Association announced that a number of fixtures from Premier League, Challenge League and National Amateur League were postponed while the start of the U-19’s Youth League has also been delayed.
The Times of Malta on Wednesday revealed that the Premier League match between Tarxien Rainbows and Sirens, scheduled for Saturday, as well as the Challenge League matches between Marsaxlokk and Mqabba and Marsa and Naxxar Lions were postponed.
According to the Malta FA regulations, a club has “the right to request the postponement of a competitive match if it can prove, by not later than midnight prior to the match, that due to restrictions by national health authorities it is unable to field at least 16 players, including two goalkeepers, from those included in the aforementioned squad list.”
In a statement, the Malta FA confirmed this news in a statement and said that all matches which involved Sirens, in the Premier League, Marsaxlokk and Marsa in the Challenge League, this month have also been rescheduled. Earlier this month, Sirens announced that two players from their first-team squad had tested positive for COVID-19 while several members of the first team are understood to have been put under the mandatory quarantine.
“As Sirens FC don’t have a minimum of 16 players (including two goalkeepers) available from the squad list due to COVID-19 issues, their next four matches – against Tarxien Rainbows FC (17/10/2020), Valletta FC (21/10), Mosta FC (25/10) and Lija Athletic FC (31/10) – will be rescheduled to a later date.
“The rescheduling of these fixtures is in accordance with the mandatory 14-day period for players currently in self-isolation or quarantine plus a seven-day training period prior to affected club’s first match post-COVID-19 recovery as laid out in the Malta FA’s Return to Play Protocol.”
The Malta FA didn’t divulge any information on the COVID-19 circumstances that led to the postponement of the matches of Marsa and Marsaxlokk but it is understood that they too didn’t have 16 players available for this weekend’s match.
In the BOV Challenge League, the following fixtures involving Marsa FC and Marsaxlokk FC will be rescheduled for the above-mentioned reasons.
Marsa were due to face Naxxar on Sunday, Pietà Hotspurs on October 22, Qormi FC on October 25 and Swieqi United on October 29 but these matches have now been postponed.
On the other hand, Marsaxlokk were scheduled to face Mqabba on Saturday, Fgura United on October 20, Qrendi on October 24 before meeting Vittoriosa Stars on October 28.
However, these matches have also been pushed back to a later date.