Malta Football Association president Bjorn Vassallo has expressed his dissatisfaction at the suspended sentence imposed by the court in the case against Rudger Scerri who has been suspended with immediate effect by the association.
Scerri, a 21-year-old Qormi resident, was charged with involvement in the manipulation of a sporting event involving Attard FC, failing to pass on information to the police authorities, as well as conducting unlicensed gaming, namely taking bets.
The court condemned him to a two-year jail term suspended for four years and a fine of €50,000 payable in €1,500 monthly instalments.
“I’m satisfied with the co-ordinated work done by the Executive Police but I’m very disappointed that a person who has admitted to partaking in illicit practices and, more than that, is a member of a club committee, has received a suspended sentence and a fine,” the MFA president said.
“This doesn’t vindicate the efforts undertaken by the Malta FA and the other relevant stakeholders in the country to strengthen the protection of sports through the introduction of a new legislation for the prevention of match-fixing in 2018 which ought to provide for a strong deterrent against these serious crimes.
“I can neither understand nor agree with this sentence which, in my opinion, is lenient and certainly doesn’t convey the right message, undermining the work of all those involved in the fight against match-fixing.”
The Malta FA president said that such cases have a negative impact on young players who must grow in a clean and healthy environment.
“Cases like this have a profound negative impact not only on the organisation the person in question was a member of but also on all the good things achieved through football and sports, especially among youths who must develop and grow in a clean and healthy environment which helps them in the pathway not only in sporting terms but also by imparting important life values,” the MFA president added.
“The Malta Football Association will continue to do everything possible to eradicate any form of illicit and abusive conduct, also through the on-going governance reforms. This applies not only to match-fixing and integrity issues in our sport but also when it comes to the threat of money-laundering and other situations where we are working very well with the authorities.
“All the reforms being undertaken by the Association will be strengthening the legislative framework to ensure that the right tools are in place to guard against any abusive behaviour which could damage the essence of football.”