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MFA chief says COVID-19 situation in Maltese football under control

The Malta FA is appealing to all clubs to follow all COVID-19 protocols to make sure the number of cases in football will remain low and ensure the continuation of the 2021-22 season.

At the moment, Malta is experiencing a rise in COVID-19 cases with over 1,000 positive tests being recorded every week.

However, football clubs have so far managed to keep the number of positive cases relatively low with the number of postponements kept to a minimum.

In fact, in the Premier League, Sliema Wanderers and Birkirkara were the only clubs to have their matches postponed due to a number of COVID-19 cases.

“The Malta FA, like any other sporting organisation, is urging its member clubs to follow the COVID-19 protocols in place to ensure it keeps down the number of positive cases in football clubs,” MFA president Bjorn Vassallo said.

“When you have a positive case, or a cluster of positive tests it inevitably puts the clubs in a difficult situation as they end up with a very hectic playing schedule due to mandatory quarantine, as happened to Sliema Wanderers, who had to play just four days after returning to training or Rabat Ajax who need to play six matches in the space of 22 days.

“So it is important that all players and officials make sure they follow all COVID-19 restrictions to keep this virus away from our sport as much as possible.”

Despite the increase in number of positive cases that were registered in the past few days, the MFA president hopes that the football season will not be stopped again as has happened in the last two campaigns.

“The most frustrating factor of this pandemic is that when you think that you have attained some form of stability, something new comes up like the Omicron variant that is causing a lot of problems everywhere,” Vassallo said.

“A decision on whether football stops is not up to the association and to make it clear, so far we haven’t been approached or informed on any possible stoppage of the football season.

“The situation in football is well under control with the number of matches being postponed due to COVID-19 is down to a very small number not only in the Premier League but all in all football categories.

In terms of senior football, only six matches have had to be postponed which is 2.2% of the matches planned in a span of 5 months.

“With the COVID-19 vaccines and booster, it seems that although the number of cases are increasing, the impact of such numbers seems to be well managed and that augurs well.

“But whatever happens and if any decisions are taken we have the necessary guidelines and regulations in place that we can follow.”

The Malta FA president appealed to all clubs to continue following all the measures in place to ensure football can continue as originally planned.

“It is of outmost importance that all clubs continue to follow the COVID-19 measures to safeguard our game as anything which halts the season or delays it would surely bring intense difficulty to clubs especially on the financial side of things.

“There was no time for recovery as yet and a number of clubs are still struggling hence restrictions could turn things into a crisis,” Vassallo said.

“As I said, at this stage, it is crucially important that there is no room for complacency and everyone ought to follow protocols and regulations as this is not the time to lower our guard.”

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