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BOV Division One

Updated: Luqa St Andrews hit back at Melita FC’s racist claims

Luqa St Andrews players and officials celebrate with the trophy on Saturday.

Luqa St Andrews have hit back at Melita FC’s claims that an Amateurs’ player was subject to racist abuse after Saturday’s National Amateur League Championship play-offs match at the Tedesco Stadium.

On Monday, Melita FC reported that one of their players was abused by a Luqa St Andrews player at the end of the match.

However, Luqa said that the incident was instigated by a Melita player who they claimed “to have got aggressive and punched another Luqa player in the face.”

“Our club has always held the values of unity and inclusivity close at heart,” Luqa said in a statement.

“Whilst talk and vanilla replies come cheap, this is evident from the numerous trials we gave to youth immigrants this season, in collaboration with Black Panthers FC, in a bid to help these youths integrate better into our society as well as giving them an opportunity in the local footballing scene.

“This is besides the number of foreigners, or those of foreign decent, we have with our club. This includes players, coaches and committee members.

“The incident occurred when an argument broke out after a Luqa player, ex-Melita, went to congratulate a former team mate. It was then when Melita FC’s British striker got aggressive, took off his shirt and punched another Luqa player in the face.

“The player retaliated by telling the striker to “go back to their country”, and both instances are stated in the official match report.

“While we do not condone this language, and will be taking action against our player, we hope that Melita FC are willing to do the same. This whole situation could have been avoided by simply accepting defeat in a sporting manner.

“Whilst we thank Melita FC for their congratulations with regards to us being crowned Champions, actions do speak louder than words, and we would have appreciated the gesture even more if their actions reflected such words.

“Attempting to tarnish our reputation by publishing half-stories is even more evident of their refusal to accept the result.”

Earlier, Melita FC had said in a statement that one of their players was subject to racist remarks after the match and hoped that the authoriites will open an investigation on the incident.

“Melita FC does not tolerate any form of racism! It is absurd and surreal that in today’s day and age a person can still be subject to racist remarks,” the National Amateur League club said in a statement.

“In last Saturday’s playoff encounter, one of our players was subjected to racist remarks. Unfortunately, our society is still being faced with these disgusting issues.

“It also surreal for our club to have to issue such a statement, but we will continue to stand for what is right and just. We have full faith in the authorities who are investigating this incident and we are hopeful this will lead to the right actions.

“We extend our congratulations to Luqa St Andrew’s Football Club, who won the title on the pitch, and this statement is only in regard to matters that took place after the game had already ended.

“We would also like to congratulate our team for a historic season and for earning a place in next year’s Challenge League.”

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