The 2022 waterpolo season will reach a climax next month when the BOV National Leagues get under way at the National Pool on June 7.
This season, the national championship has seen an increase in the number of participating teams as Barracuda’s entry has made it 12 teams in the competition.
The participating teams will not be fielding overseas players this summer, in a decision taken by the ASA and the participating clubs last year to ensure their financial stability following two hard years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ASA president Joe Caruana Curran told a news conference.
“This has been a very hectic season so far as we have completed both the Enemed Cup and the Winter League and teams are now preparing themselves for the summer championship which finally will be played in front of fans after a two-year absence due to COVID-19.
“This time we have the highest number of teams which shows how much the sport has developed. But there will be no overseas players, following a decision taken by the ASA and the clubs late last year.
“The main reason behind this decision is that after two years of COVID-19 where the clubs failed to record any financial profit from their facilities, we didn’t want to put the club in further financial difficulty.
“But hopefully, the foreigners will be back in our leagues next year.”
Caruana Curran said that this year’s summer season will be playing in a shorter span of time due to the national teams’ commitments in the European Championships.
“This season’s schedule has been shortened due to the national teams’ international commitments, with the season coming to a close on August 20,” the ASA chief said.
“We have the U-16 national team who will be competing in the world championships that will be played in Volos, Greece between August 20 and 27. Then our senior national team will head to Split late in August for their participation in the European Championships.
“The Malta U-19 team will be then representing the country in the European Championships that will be played in Montenegro, so there is a lot to look forward to.”
On his part, Joseph Agius, chief technology officer at Bank of Valletta said: “We are very happy that for the 15th year, Bank of Valletta are the main sponsors of the waterpolo national teams. During this spell we have seen the game develop a lot and an increase in the number of teams which is very good for the future.
“At BOV we are always encouraging youngsters to take up a sport and conduct a healthy lifestyle so seeing more youngsters in the sport is very important for us.”
June 7: Valletta Izibet vs Birżebbuġa Freeport; Marsaxlokk Browns vs San Ġiljan JP Projects; Exiles vs Barracudas.
June 8: Sliema Frank Salt Real Estate vs Marsaskala Fish N Fish; Sirens Mecca Marine vs Otters Nivea; Ta’ Xbiex Amigos vs Neptunes.