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Updated: Mangia says he is the only national team coach with the domestic league suspended

Devis Mangia has reiterated his stance on the current COVID-19 restrictions that banned all organised sport, including the BOV Premier League, and said that he was the only national coach in Europe to have his domestic championship suspended due to the pandemic.

Speaking during a news conference on the eve of Malta’s match against Slovakia, Mangia was visibly disappointed after he was informed by the media that the Superintendent for Health Charmaine Gauci had said that the Legal Notice issued by the government will remain in place until April 11.

That means that any hopes the Premier League and Challenge League clubs had of resuming their training sessions before the April 11 deadline look all but over.

“I don’t know if I should give my reaction but what I can say is that at the moment  Malta is the only country where football has stopped,” he said.

“The national coaches of Croatia, Russia, Slovakia, Cyprus and Slovenia do not have that problem, I am the only one to have it.

“I repeat I understand the importance to safeguard the health of everyone but as I said I’m sure that with strict protocols in place football can return.

“If the championship doesn’t start it will be a big problem for us. To stop for another four months will not be good for us besides that we have already made plans for a training camp in June.”

Earlier in the day, Gauci had provided little hope for the early resumption of domestic football as she said that the Legal Notice remained in place and only national teams preparing for major international competitions will be given an exemption.

Earlier this week, the Malta FA met with the Premier League and the Challenge League clubs and it was agreed that they will be proposing to the health authorities to be given an exemption so that they can resume training before the April 11 deadline so that the two major championships could resume shortly after the Legal Notice will be lifted.

Added to that Malta coach Devis Mangia had made it clear that it was not possible that football in Malta would not resume after the April 11 deadline as it would severely hamper the national team’s hopes of being competitive in the World Cup qualifiers.

Asked whether there were plans that football will be given the green light to resume Gauci said: “At the moment we have a law and a legal notice that says that any organised sport cannot be held. There is also clause that an exemption can only be given if a national team needs to prepare for a major international competition.

“As you saw this week, the national team was given permission to prepare for the match against Russia but even in that exemption they are given conditions that have to be respected so that they work in a bubble and measures remain in place.”

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