Malta national teams given an exemption by authorities after return from Russia trip
Mosta FC goalkeeper Christoffer Mafoumbi has vented his frustration after the Maltese Health Authorities forced him to go into a two-week quarantine after returning from international duty from a dark-red-listed country with the Congo national team despite he was following strict COVID-19 protocols set by FIFA.
The Malta national team and the U-21 selection returned to Malta early last week after taking part in international qualifiers against the dark-red-listed Russia in Moscow and the members of the squad didn’t need to quarantine on their return after being given an exemption by Maltese authorities.
On the other hand, Mosta goalkeeper Mafoumbi was forced to sit out of Saturday’s Premier League match against Ħamrun Spartans and is also ruled out of next weekend’s match against Hibernians as he must serve his 14-day quarantine.
Last week, Mosta were forced to sign Serbian goalkeeper Marko Jovicic as a replacement for the unavailable Mafoumbi.
Health Authorities in Malta order every citizen that arrives in Malta from a dark-red-listed country to undergo a 14-day quarantine on arrival here.
However, according to the Legal Notice 93, the Superintendent for Public Healthy “may in her discretion and subject to any conditions she may deem necessary exempt national Maltese sport teams from these regulations in exceptional or necessary cases including international games.”
The Maltese national team applied successfully for the exemption as before every international match, the Malta FA abides by the UEFA Return to Play protocol and the team follows strict regulations that include players remain in a bubble at all times and there is regular testing.
On the other hand, Mafoumbi’s club Mosta FC also applied to the Health Authorities for an exemption for their international goalkeeper late last August and were confident that they will again be given an exemption after the lanky goalkeeper had already been given the green light not to quarantine on his return from international commitments last March.
But to their dismay, their application was turned down.
“I am really disappointed by the decision of the Maltese Health Authorities,” Mafoumbi told the Times of Malta.
“I cannot understand why I am being treated differently from other national team players who play World Cup qualifiers under FIFA protocols. The club made the request before my departure but the application was turned down this time even though I followed the same rules of the Maltese national team.”
Mafoumbi said that during his stay with the Congo national team, the contingent was following strict rules
“The team followed the FIFA protocol by the book,” he said.
“We were put in a bubble and only left the hotel to train and play matches. We travelled for our matches on a chartered flight and we were tested twice before matches.
“I’m baffled why I wasn’t considered in the same way as other national teams like Malta.”
Mafoumbi said that this situation is inevitably affecting his position at his club Mosta.
“This quarantine has hurt my chances to keep my place in the team,” the Congolese goalkeeper.
“I missed the match against Ħamrun, will sit out the match against Hibernians and I don’t know if I will be recalled for the following match against Balzan as I will only be allowed to return to training just two days before the match.
“I sincerely hope that the authorities revise this decision as it’s really an unfair decision.”