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Premier League to be formed of 12 teams in 2021-2022 season

Lija Athletic, Żejtun Corinthians and Tarxien Rainbows officially relegated to Challenge League

The BOV Premier League will be formed of 12 teams next season while 22 sides will form the Challenge League following a vote taken by the MFA Council on Tuesday.

The MFA Council were due to decide the composition of next season’s competitions after season 2020-21 came to an early end after the authorities failed to lift the Legal Notice that banned organised sport by the end of April due to COVID-19.

The Malta FA EXCO submitted proposals that said that next season’s top flight will be composed of 12 teams after sanctioning the relegation of Senglea Athletic, Lija Athletic, Tarxien Rainbows and Żejtun Corinthians, the four teams who finished in the bottom four of the standings.

During the meeting, Dr Peter Fenech, president of Lija Athletic, presented a motion that said the league will be formed of 15 teams, with Senglea the only team to be relegated, given that they were mathematically condemned before the stoppage.

However, the MFA Council voted in favour of the Executive Committee proposal to have the top flight formed of 12 teams, with 30 voting in favour and eight against with no less than 20 representatives abstaining from the vote.

The vote result meant that Żejtun Corinhtians, Lija Athletic and Tarxien Rainbows’s relegation was now official.

The 2021-22 Premier League season will get under way on August 12.

On the other hand, the Challenge League will be formed by 22 teams and the teams will be split into two sections.

The Challenge League will get under way on September 11.

On the other hand, the National Amateur League will be formed by 19 teams and will kick off on September 25.

The women’s league will start on September 14 while the Youth League will get underway on September 13.

The MFA made it clear that it is aiming to return to the original composition of the various championships, which is 14 teams in the Premier League, 18 in the Challenge League and 21 in the National Amateur League.

During the meeting the MFA Council has approved a new set of amendments regarding the competition rules.

From now on, the minimum age for senior team football has been set at 16 years.

It was also announced a new capping in terms of the number of players in a squad in the various division with 25 players permitted in the Premier League and 20 in the Challenge League.

Clubs in the Premier League next season cannot register more than 12 overseas players. However, teams in the top-flight will can include nine overseas players in their match-day squad but only seven can be on the field at the same time with the other two included among the substitutes.

In the Challenge League, clubs will be able to register five overseas players but only four will be eligible to play for the first team. The fifth overseas player can be then used in the Youth League.

Clubs in the Challenge League can only have four overseas players in their match-day squad, with only three permitted on the pitch at the same time.

In the National Amateur League, clubs may not have registered with them more than two overseas players.

All teams will be able to make five substitutions during a match with three stoppages permitted during the match.

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