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Updated: Malta FA given exemption to host World Cup qualifier against Russia

The Superintendent for Health Charmaine Gauci has given an exemption to the Malta national team from the recently-announced COVID-19 restrictions which means that Devis Mangia’s team can start their preparations for this month’s World Cup qualifier against Russia.

Malta were due to host Russia in their opening World Cup qualifier on March 24 but the organisation and preparations for the match were thrown into doubt after last week the government banned organised sports events until April 11.

However, when the Legal Notice was published, the Malta FA were given a ray of hope that they could host the match when the Superintendent for Health was given the power to hand the national team an exemption from the current COVID-19 measures so that they can host international competitions in Malta.

Talks between the Malta Football Association and Public Health officials were ongoing last weekend and a verbal agreement was reached so that the MFA could starts its preparation for the match.

However, the local governing body of football were still awaiting official confirmation which finally arrived on Monday night, as confirmed by MFA vice-president Dr Matthew Paris.

“A few minutes ago the Public Health has sent us official confirmation that the Malta Football Association has been given an exemption to host the World Cup qualifier against Russia at the National Stadium,” Dr Paris told national television on Monday.

The announcement will be welcomed by Mangia and his players who are expected to start their preparations for the match as scheduled as from Tuesday.

Apart from the home match against Russia, Mangia’s team have two other away qualifiers this month, namely against Slovakia, on March 27, and Croatia on March 30.

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