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MFA EXCO step up fight against money laundering and bad practices in Maltese football

Governing body introduces new governance reforms for clubs

The Malta Football Association Executive Committee has approved reforms on good governance both at the association as well as club level, president Bjorn Vassallo told a news conference pm Thursday.

Vassallo said that good governance has been at the forefront of his electoral mandate and also ranks high on the association’s new strategy that was unveiled earlier this year.

The MFA chief said that during the meeting the Malta FA Executive Committee discussed the proposal of appointing an advisory board that will tackle the fight against money laundering in football.

“The issue that we discussed most during this meeting was the good governance in the administration of football clubs,” Vassallo said.

“During the meeting it was proposed that an advisory board is appointed to fight money laundering in the game. There will also be a specific unite that ensures that there is a better due diligence system in football.

“All this forms part of an extensive reform in good governance that saw the Malta

FA present a new statute that will lead to new structural powers. All this has received the endorsement of both FIFA and UEFA who fully agree with our plans.”

The MFA president said that this corporate restructuring will lead to a change in club ownership that will see clubs becoming private companies according to the level of licensing they attain.

“We are now in the process of approaching a number of persons within the football family who we believe are very competent on the matter and hopefully they will accept to form part of this advisory board,” Vassallo said.

“Once this mechanism is put into place, we will be able to have a strong due diligence exercise for all club committee members, team managers and club administrators.

“All sponsorships received by the club will have to be backed up by a legal declaration from where the money has come from and the respective agreements.

“There will also be the creation of a registry which will include donations and loans given to the club.

“Added to that we have also held meetings with the Inland Revenue Commissioner where we are working together to strengthen the procedures football clubs have with the Inland Revenue and ensure there are strong regulations that are implemented well by the clubs.”

The Malta FA confirmed that during Thursday’s meeting the decisions taken by the Licensing Board for this season’s UEFA competitions were aso discussed and said that Birkirkara FC have lodged an appeal against the 10,000 euros fine imposed on them by the board for failing to notify a significant change in payables.

Licence application

Birkirkara were one of eight clubs who were awarded a UEFA Licence, alongside Ħamrun Spartans, Hibernians, Gżira United, Mosta, Sta Lucia FC, Valletta and Balzan. However, their application was deemed controversial due to a number of tax issues.

“During the meeting, I read the motivation and the legal grounds used by the Licensing Board to grant the licence to Birkirkara FC,” Vassallo said.

“I want to make it clear that the MFA EXCO’s priority is not the interest of the club they come from but that of Maltese football in general.

“The MFA has stuck to its regulations as well as the advice we received from UEFA on the issue.

“We have faith in the people on the board and they arrived to the decision by following UEFA regulations and that certainly justifies the grant of a licence to Birkirkara FC.”

The MFA president said that clubs who feel they were damaged by the decision can use their legal right of going to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) or the Civil Courts to reclaim any damages they suffered.

The Malta FA EXCO on Thursday also discussed proposals made by the standing committees of the Premier League, the Challenge League and the National Amateur League on the composition of the national competitions for next season.

The Premier League, which starts in August, will be formed by 12 teams, while 22 sides will compete in the Challenge League. On the other hand, the National Amateur League will be formed by 19 teams.

The proposed formats will now be discussed in the MFA Council meeting before being rubberstamped by the governing body’s AGM.

“The goal for the association is that the normal composition of our divisions, that see the Premier League with 14 teams, the Challenge League with 16 and 23 in the National Amateur League will be restored in two years’ time,” Vassallo concluded.

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