Malta Marathon organiser Joe Micallef has decided to pull out of the organisation of the SportMalta Charity Marathon just over 24 hours after it was announced that he agreed to join the government-led race.
The Malta Marathon was cancelled on Tuesday, after the organiser Joe Micallef clashed with Transport Malta over the proposed route.
Runners who had been training for the event, which was set to take place on March 6, were outraged by the sudden cancellation. Some had even made travel arrangements to the island specifically for the race.
Since then, the government has said that Transport Malta and Sport Malta had teamed up to organise the Sport Malta Charity Marathon.
On Thursday, a press conference was organised by SportMalta and Transport Malta to give details of the new charity which will also be held on March 6. During the briefing, Mark Cutajar, the SportMalta CEO, had invited Joe Micallef to join the organisation team of the newly-formed race.
Micallef met with Cutajar on Friday and an agreement was reached between the two parties so that he would form part of the organising committee.
However, there was another twist on Saturday night when Joe Micallef issued a statement on behalf of the Malta Marathon organisers saying that they had a change of heart and had decided to distance themselves from the SportMalta Charity Marathon.
“We have decided to completely disassociate ourselves from the SportMalta Charity Marathon,” Micallef said in an official video press release.
“Yesterday, the decision to work and collaborate with SportMalta came totally out of a hasty decision coming from emotional love towards the sport, the local running community and the 1,200 individuals coming from overseas.
“This went totally against logic and our initial strong beliefs and values.
“The route imposed by Transport Malta has been deemed as unacceptable by Mater Dei’s emergency department, the Malta Red Cross and the Malta traffic police due to safety reasons; both for emergency responders and the runners themselves.
“This is to take a strong stance, against inclusion of any political intervention and victimization, such as charitable organizations that have nothing to do with our beloved sport.”