Will not decorate stands for national team games this month
The South End Core are not planning to decorate their section at the National Stadium for the upcoming international matches of the national teams this month after their proposals for a safe return of football fans in Maltese stadia were not approved by the health authorities.
On Sunday, the official supporters club of the Malta national team issued a statement where they could not hide their disappointment after their proposals were ignored by the authorities.
“Unfortunately, the idea of having fans return to the stadium was not accepted by the authorities and those who follow Maltese football and the national team have again remained in the same situation,” the South End Core said in a statement.
“We would have liked to be with you and see you again after these difficult times that we were living together, and we enjoy together the positive time the national team is passing through.
“We would like to apologise to the players that we are not going to be present at the stadium for these matches that are very important. We had some beautiful plans lined up but unfortunately for now we have to keep them shelved.”
Contacted by the Times of Malta, Dillon Mercieca, the person in charge of the South End Core, said that it was disappointing that their proposals were overlooked and were not even consulted by the Malta FA on the matter.
“I am really disappointed that fans will not be allowed to watch the upcoming international matches involving the national team,” Mercieca told the Times of Malta.
“In the last few weeks, we have launched a campaign towards supporting a safe return of fans to our stadia. We are aware of the difficult situation that the country is passing through but we felt that the November internationals could have been a perfect testing ground which, if successful, could have paved the way for a return of fans for domestic leagues.
“However, unfortunately we were never consulted by the Malta FA on the issue and once more the November internationals will again be held behind closed doors.”
The South End Core had tabled several proposals to be tested during the November internationals.
The fans group proposed that tickets sales will be held online, and turnstiles would be left open so that there will be no need of physical contact of fans.
Police would search fans through body scanners and masks would be worn, failure to do so entrance will be denied, the South End Core said.
Added to that fans would stay seated during the whole match and only family members can sit next to each other.
Mercieca said that the thing that disappoints him most is the fact that authorities were not even ready to see how the return of fans would work to see if their proposals could be put into practice or not.
“Unfortunately, the authorities missed out on the opportunity to see if the proposals would work, closing the door on the hopes of football fans to come back to the stadium and watch their favourite team,” Mercieca said.
“What frustrates us is the fact that theatres and cinemas, who obviously operate indoors, remain open while a football stadium, where fans see their favourite teams in open air, have been closed down for the supporters.
“Then what happened today continues to increase our frustration with the announcement of the event Christmas in the City in Valletta. So, fans in the stadium represent a huge danger to increase more COVID-19 cases but having thousands of people in shops, restaurants and other activities is not.”
The national team will face Liechtenstein, on Wednesday at the National Stadium, but Mercieca said that the South End Core have no plans to decorate the stands for the occasion as a sign of protest for this situation.
“Maltese football fans are sad and frustrated at the moment with the situation and it’s time for us to send our own message,” Mercieca said.
“The South End Core will not decorate the stands for all three internationals this month. We apologise for the players but we need to make a stand. I sincerely hope that things will change soon as fans deserve more respect.”