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BOV Division One

MFA, clubs to ask Public Health to remove training restrictions before April 11 deadline

The Malta Football Association and Premier League and Challenge League clubs have agreed to ask the Public Health Authorities to remove the Legal Notice that bans organise sport before the April 11 deadline so that they can re-start training with a view of completing this year’s championships.

On Tuesday, delegates from all Premier League and Challenge League clubs met with MFA president Bjorn Vassallo and general secretary Angelo Chetcuti to discuss the current COVID-19 situation and its implication on the national competitions.

At present, the BOV Premier League and the Challenge League have been put on hold after the government announced a ban on all organised sport until April 11.

Before the stoppage of competitions, the Premier League had completed 75 per cent of its schedule, meaning that should the championship is unable to continue due to COVID-19, the championship, the European places and relegations will be decided according to the latest standings.

However, the Challenge League has yet to meet that 75 per cent criteria and therefore it remains to be seen whether the championship will be able to conclude so it is not declared void.

During Tuesday’s meeting the clubs agreed that in the current regulations, teams are unable to train properly as players must be split into groups of four, without making use of a ball, no contact and without a coach monitoring them.

If clubs had to return to team training after the April 11 deadline it would mean that the Premier League or the Challenge League will only be able to resume in the first week of May as players would need between two or three weeks of training after the four-week stoppage from play.

Added to that, starting in May would see the Premier League clubs needing at least another six weeks to complete the championship and the FA Trophy, which would mean that the season would be completed in mid-June.

That scenario would pose a bigger problems for clubs competing in UEFA competitions as will have no time to prepare for their European matches.

Sources told The Times of Malta, that both the MFA and the clubs have agreed to discuss again the issue on April 1, in another meeting.

Until then, the Malta FA has promised to the clubs that they will be meeting with the health authorities and will be pushing hard to gain an exemption so that clubs can restart training two weeks earlier than planned.

The Premier League Standing Committee is due to meet on Thursday, to further discuss the situation but sources told The Times of Malta that the majority of the clubs are against the resumption of competitions.

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