Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Detailed update on COVID-19 impact on football
May 21, 2020
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General
Leagues

The COVID-19 pandemic is severely affecting football operations across Europe, halting virtually all international, club and domestic competitions. Since the outset of this pandemic, the Malta FA has always stressed that the health, wellbeing and safety of players, spectators and all those involved in football as well as the public is the foremost priority.


The Malta Football Association has been keeping regular contact with the Ministry of Health and all the stakeholders in local football, holding regular videoconference meetings both internally and also with external partners while taking a series of measures as dictated by the developments in the fluctuating COVID-19 situation.

 

The Malta FA is also constantly engaging with FIFA and UEFA who have been actively seeking to deal with the unprecedented difficulties and challenges caused by the impact of COVID-19 on international and domestic football.

 

Locally, on March 12 the Malta FA Bureau decided to suspend all football and futsal competitions initially for 10 days i.e. until March 23 before extending that ban to April 5 and subsequently for an indefinite period of time.

 

This is a timeline of the decisions and updates related to the impact of COVID-19 on Maltese and international football.

 

12 MARCH, 2020

 

Authorities close educational institutions, introduce restrictions on public mass events

 

The Maltese Government announces that, as from Friday 13th March 2020, all schools (primary, secondary, post-secondary and tertiary) and childcare centres will be closed for a week.

 

Meanwhile, with immediate effect, public mass events cannot be held. The public is advised not to attend any activities of the sort.

 

In collaboration with the Malta Football Association, all football matches of the Premier, First, Second, Third Divisions together with the U19 league, will be played behind closed doors.

 

12 MARCH, 2020

 

Malta FA suspends all competitions for 10 days

 

Following internal discussions as well as consultations with its medical unit and the relevant authorities on the extraordinary circumstances caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, the Malta Football Association Bureau has taken the decision to suspend all football and futsal matches from all competitions for the next 10 days, effective from Friday, March 13, 2020.

 

The decision to postpone all fixtures supersedes the directive announced earlier to play the matches from the senior Malta FA competitions and the Youth League and those of the Gozo FA behind closed doors.

 

The position to cancel all matches also extends to the competitive and friendly matches, events, festivals and training sessions of the Youth FA and the Gozo Youth FA which were cancelled with immediate effect earlier today.

 

All training sessions and activities of the national football selections in the Under-17, Under-16 and Under-15 age-groups and the girls’ academy have also been suspended.

 

The decision also applies to non-league football and competitions organised by Malta FA member associations.

 

14 MARCH, 2020

 

Malta’s March friendlies cancelled

 

In light of the travel restrictions and health measures concerning COVID-19 currently in place in our country and across Europe, Malta’s upcoming friendly matches have been cancelled.

 

The national team were due to play against Gibraltar on March 26 and Azerbaijan on March 30 at the National Stadium but these international friendlies have been called off.

 

Liechtenstein were also due to travel to Malta to play against Azerbaijan and Gibraltar but these friendlies have also been cancelled.

 

The exceptional circumstances caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 has also led the FIFA Bureau to decide that the general football rules obliging clubs to release their players for national team matches will not apply during the upcoming international windows in March and April.

 

The UEFA Boys Youth Development Tournament, due to have taken place in Malta between April 8 and 13, 2020, has been postponed by UEFA. Along with Malta, the Under-16 teams of Gibraltar, Montenegro and San Marino were going to take part in this tournament.

 

17 MARCH, 2020

 

UEFA postpones EURO 2020 by 12 months

 

UEFA announces the postponement of EURO 2020, due to be played in June and July this year.

 

All UEFA competitions and matches (including friendlies) for clubs and national teams for both men and women have been put on hold until further notice. The UEFA EURO 2020 play-off matches and international friendlies, scheduled for the end of March, will now be played in the international window at the start of June, subject to a review of the situation.

 

A working group has been set up with the participation of leagues and club representatives to examine calendar solutions that would allow for the completion of the current season and any other consequence of the decisions made today.

 

READ FULL STATEMENT

 

17 MARCH, 2020 

 

Resolution of the European football family on response to the impact of the COVID-19 on competitions

 

UEFA convene an urgent meeting via videoconference with representatives of the European Club Association (ECA), European Leagues (EL) and FIFPRO Europe (altogether referred to as “the Parties”) to reflect, as a group, on the unique set of circumstances European football is facing as a result of the ongoing global health crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic and discuss sensible solutions for the European football family to cope with this unsettling, challenging and unprecedented situation.

 

As representatives of the major professional football organisations at European level, the Parties consider it is their duty to take a responsible lead in developing a united European approach in response to the global pandemic which has led to the suspension of the vast majority of competitions on the continent.

 

With this in mind, and while reiterating their fundamental commitment to protecting the health, safety, and well-being of players, clubs, supporters, officials, staff and the broader football community, the Parties discussed and unanimously agreed on the principles of a contingency plan regarding the 2019-20 sporting season.

 

READ FULL STATEMENT


17 MARCH, 2020 

 

Suspension of competitions extended until 5th April


In light of the evolving situation concerning COVID-19, the Malta FA Bureau decided to extend the suspension of all domestic football competitions until April 5, 2020 with the situation being kept under constant review.
 

Videoconference meetings with representatives of the clubs in all divisions and other stakeholders will be held this Friday.

 

The Malta FA Bureau has also decided to postpone the domestic club licensing deadline, initially set for June 6, 2020, while UEFA is also expected to postpone its deadline on overdue payables, set as at March 31, 2020.

 

The Malta Under-21 team’s UEFA U-21 European Championship qualifying matches against Ukraine and Finland, scheduled to take place at the Gozo Stadium later this month, have been postponed to June.
 

The 2020 MFA Awards event, originally scheduled to take place on May 15, 2020, has been postponed to a later date.

 

19 MARCH, 2020

 

Malta Women’s EURO qualifier against Denmark postponed

 

Malta's UEFA Women’s EURO qualifying match against Denmark on April 14, 2020 has been postponed due to the current situation relating to the COVID-19 virus.

 

The Maltese girls were due to host Denmark at the Centenary Stadium in their eighth Group B qualifier but all fixtures scheduled for April have been postponed by UEFA.

 

20 MARCH, 2020 

 

Malta FA officials hold meeting with stakeholders

 

The decisions and directives announced by UEFA concerning the impact COVID-19 is having on football and the various scenarios to try and address the fixture pile-up caused by this disruption are discussed during a videoconference meeting the Malta Football Association Bureau had with the stakeholders in local football.

 

READ FULL REPORT


22 MARCH, 2020

 

Maltese government announces more restrictions

 

The Government announces further restrictions, including the temporary closure on non-essential retail services and shops.

 

Also, as from Monday 23rd March 2020 at 8am, any type of organised public and mass gatherings will be prohibited.

 

23 MARCH, 2020

 

UEFA Club Finals postponed

 

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis in Europe, UEFA has formally taken the decision to postpone the following matches, originally scheduled for May 2020:

 

• UEFA Women’s Champions League Final
• UEFA Europa League Final
• UEFA Champions League Final

 

No decision has yet been made on rearranged dates. The working group, established last week as a result of the conference call among the stakeholders of European football, which was chaired by UEFA President, Aleksander Čeferin, will analyse the options available.

 

30 MARCH, 2020

 

More restrictions to prevent spread of COVID-19

 

Under new laws being introduced by the Government to enforce coronavirus social distancing measures, groups of four or more people spotted in public by the police will be liable for a fine of €100 each.

 

30 MARCH, 2020

 

Government’s financial aid extended to sports

 

The Malta Football Association conveys its gratitude to the Government for extending the financial aid measures announced last week to the sports sector.

 

The Association appreciates the fact that, during these difficult and unprecedented times for everyone, the Government has taken heed of our appeals to increase the level of financial assistance for the sports sector which has also been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

It is worth noting that local clubs, the Malta FA and other stakeholders in domestic football employ over 1,000 persons between players, coaches and other administrative and operational staff, both on a full-time and part-time basis.

 

Therefore, the government’s decision will positively affect all these sports organisations, their employees and their families. The Malta FA thanks Dr Clifton Grima, the Parliamentary Secretary for Youths, Sports and Voluntary Organisations, for his support and assistance.

 

30 MARCH, 2020

 

Football competitions suspended indefinitely

 

The Malta Football Association Bureau held another videoconference meeting to look at the latest developments related to the COVID-19 crisis.

 

In emphasising the Association’s commitment to safeguarding the health and well-being of the players, clubs, fans, officials, staff and the entire football community, the Malta FA Bureau has suspended all domestic football and futsal competitions indefinitely in line with the directives of the local health authorities.
 

The Malta FA is maintaining regular contact with the local and international stakeholders, especially UEFA and FIFA, as it continues to monitor this evolving situation closely.


UEFA has called a videoconference with the General Secretaries of the 55 Member Associations on Wednesday to share the latest updates on the progress made by the two working groups that were created two weeks ago and to discuss proposed options with regards to the collective commitment of potentially rescheduling the matches from domestic championships across Europe.
 

1 APRIL, 2020

 

UEFA postpones all June national team matches

 

Following a videoconference meeting with the general secretaries of all 55 UEFA member associations and recommendations made by the working groups created on 17 March, the UEFA Executive Committee took a series of decisions, as follows:

 

• All national team matches for men and women due to be played in June 2020 are postponed until further notice. This includes the play-off matches for UEFA EURO 2020 and qualifying matches for UEFA Women’s EURO 2021.

 

• All other UEFA competition matches, including the centralised international friendly matches, remain postponed until further notice.

 

• Youth national team competitions:

 

(i) the UEFA European Under-17 Championship final tournament scheduled for May 2020 is cancelled;

 

(ii) the UEFA European Women’s Under-19 Championship final tournament scheduled for July 2020 is cancelled;

 

(iii) the UEFA European Women’s Under-17 Championship final tournament scheduled for May 2020 is postponed until further notice (as it is a qualifying competition for the FIFA U 17 Women's World Cup);

 

(iv) the UEFA European Under-19 Championship final tournament scheduled for July 2020 is postponed until further notice (as it is a qualifying competition for the FIFA U-20 World Cup).

 

• The UEFA Futsal Champions League finals scheduled for April 2020 are postponed until further notice.

 

READ FULL STATEMENT


6 APRIL, 2020 

 

Malta FA launches television programme for children

 

#TrainingWithMFA is the name of a new television programme launched by the Malta Football Association to encourage children to keep exercising at home during the COVID-19 crisis.

 

The programmes, to be shown daily on One TV, Net TV and Melita's Promo Channel as well as on the Malta FA social media channels, promote physical activity and football skills exercises which can be performed indoors.

 

The fun exercises, targeting children and young teenagers, are carried out by players under the guidance of qualified football and fitness and performance coaches who form part of the Malta FA’s technical sector.

 

7 APRIL, 2020

 

Malta FA Exco adopts FIFA guidelines on COVID-19 issues

 

The Malta Football Association’s Executive Committee holds a videoconference meeting to identify solutions for the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and pro-actively plan for the future.

 

The guidelines issued by FIFA to address some of the key practical issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic were one of the main items on the agenda of the meeting. The Executive Committee endorsed these guidelines which centre around three core principles:
 

• agreements expiring at the end of the current season will be automatically extended in parallel with the likely extension of the season as decided by the Association
 

• agreements that cannot be performed as anticipated due to the current COVID-19 situation
 

• the adjustment of the transfer windows
 

The guidelines will direct all member associations on regulatory and legal issues, ensuring that the response is harmonised in the common interest.

 

PREMIER LEAGUE CLUBS’ RESOLUTION

 

The Executive Committee also took note and welcomed a resolution signed by all the 14 Premier League clubs. In recognising that the monthly wage figures established by the Government represent a proportionate measure, the top-flight clubs have resolved to meet these minimum payment criteria for full-time registered players.

 

READ FULL STATEMENT


16 APRIL, 2020

 

Malta FA Social Dialogue Committee Meeting

 

The members of the Social Dialogue Committee meet via videoconference to pursue discussions and further address the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

At the meeting, the parties acknowledged the diversity not only between the different categories but also within the same division where clubs have different realities, also in terms of the varying conditions agreed with individual players.
 

During today’s discussion, the members of the Social Dialogue Committee analysed the various proposals that have been presented so far. It is pertinent to note that every proposal is intended to guarantee a set of minimum conditions while giving leeway to clubs and players to reach an agreement on better conditions.
 

All parties have pledged to promote and support the efforts undertaken by parties on an individual basis in pursuance of mutually-beneficial agreements.
 

The Social Dialogue Committee is a forum chaired by the Malta Football Association and brings together representatives of clubs, players and coaches to discuss matters of mutual interest, including the status and transfer of players, and employment.

 

20 APRIL, 2020

 

Malta FA officials meet Minister of Health

 

Bjorn Vassallo and Dr Angelo Chetcuti, the President and General Secretary of the Malta Football Association respectively, meet with Dr Chris Fearne, the Minister of Health, Dr Clifton Grima, the Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sport and Voluntary Organisations and Professor Charmaine Gauci, the Superintendent of Health.


23 APRIL, 2020

 

UEFA Exco approves guidelines on eligibility for participation in UEFA competitions

 

The UEFA Executive Committee met via videoconference. It received updates on the Working Groups established in partnership with the European Club Association (ECA), European Leagues (EL) and FIFPRO Europe. Of the two scenarios being examined by the Calendar Working Group, both envisage domestic football starting before UEFA club competitions, with one seeking to run the competitions in parallel and the other to complete domestic matches before re-starting UEFA matches in August.

 

READ FULL STATEMENT


22 & 24, APRIL, 2020

 

Malta Football Association Bureau meetings

 

The Malta Football Association's Bureau holds two videoconference meetings to discuss the latest developments regarding the impact of COVID-19 in preparation for the next meeting of the Executive Committee being held this coming Wednesday, 29th April, 2020.

 

The Bureau, which comprises the Association’s top officials, reiterated that the health of players, spectators and all those involved in football as well as the public remains the overriding priority.
 

At the meeting, the Bureau members reaffirmed their support for the collective commitment to try and complete the top domestic competitions when medical guidance allows it, in line with the position taken by the Association’s Executive Committee at its last meeting earlier this month. To this end, the Malta FA has formally requested the direction of the health authorities on the viability of the proposed timeframes for the completion of the competitions.
 

Internal discussions on the on-going talks with the health authorities and the recommendations and decisions taken by the UEFA Executive Committee yesterday will continue during the Malta FA Executive Committee meeting on Wednesday.

 

APRIL 29, 2020

 

Malta FA to advance payments to clubs from schemes worth €431,000

 

The Malta Football Association will advance the payments from two schemes to alleviate the financial problems being faced by its member clubs due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The decision to release the payments early was taken by the Malta FA Executive Committee during a videoconference meeting.

 

The remainder of the budget allocated for the Guaranteed Gate Income Scheme, totalling €264,250, will be paid by the end of May 2020.

 

The solidarity payments from the Young Players Development programme, which has a pot of €167,385, will also be paid in advance. In addition to the clubs in the BOV Premier League, First, Second and Third Division, the teams taking part in the Gozo FA’s First and Second Division competitions also benefit from this scheme.

 

READ FULL STATEMENT


29 APRIL, 2020

 

Malta FA Exco decision on domestic competitons

 

The Executive Committee of the Malta Football Association continued to evaluate the complexity of the current situation vis-a-vis the football and futsal competitions, which have been suspended since March 13, in view of the latest economic and health developments regarding the COVID-19 impact.

 

First and foremost, the Malta FA’s thoughts are with those affected by COVID-19 with the Association reiterating that the health, safety and well-being of players, spectators and all those involved in football as well as the public remains the overriding priority.
 

Based on its thorough evaluation of the current situation, the Exco today took the decision to end the league competitions organised by the Malta FA, excluding the BOV Premier League and FA Trophy, as well as those run by the Gozo Football Association. The sporting outcome of these competitions i.e.winners, relegation and promotion issues and play-offs, will be decided in due course.

 

READ FULL STATEMENT

 

4 MAY, 2020

 

COVID-19 impact – Informative meetings with representatives of all clubs

 

As part of the on-going discussions on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on local football, Malta Football Association President Bjorn Vassallo is holding a series of videoconference meetings with representatives of the clubs in all four divisions of Maltese football.


The first meeting took place on Monday with representatives of the clubs in the BOV Second and Third Division leagues.


The decisions taken by Association’s Executive Committee last week and the latest developments in the evolving COVID-19 situation were the focal points of this informative and positive online meeting.


A detailed timeline of all the important updates and measures taken both locally and at European level since the Malta FA Bureau suspended all domestic football and futsal competitions on March 12 was presented during the meeting. The decision to terminate all the lower-division leagues was taken by the end of April and therefore at the same time as when these competitions were originally scheduled to conclude.


A videoconference meeting with representatives of the BOV Premier League clubs is scheduled to take place tomorrow (Thursday, May 7) and another one for the BOV First Division clubs will be held in due course.

 

READ FULL REPORT

 

 14 MAY, 2020

 

Discussions with health authorities

 

Bjorn Vassallo and Dr Angelo Chetcuti, the President and General Secretary of the Malta Football Association respectively, meet with Dr Chris Fearne, the Minister of Health, Dr Clifton Grima, the Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sport and Voluntary Organisations and Professor Charmaine Gauci, the Superintendent of Health to discuss issues pertaining to sports activities in the context of the latest developments in the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

18 MAY, 2020

 

2019-20 BOV Premier League and FA Trophy competitions terminated


The Executive Committee of the Malta Football Association met today via videoconference to discuss the status of its top-tier competitions, namely the 2019-20 BOV Premier League and FA Trophy, in the context of the latest developments regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.


In view of the Executive Committee’s direction to decide on the resumption or termination of these competitions on May 18, 2020, the Executive Committee has decided to terminate the 2019-20 BOV Premier League and FA Trophy.


In arriving to this decision, the Malta FA Executive Committee has taken into consideration the following key factors:


• the restrictions imposed by law (Legal Notice 101 of 2020 of the Public Health Act);


• the health, well-being and safety of all those involved in football and the wider community;


• the positions of the 14 Premier League clubs;


• the positions of the other stakeholders (players, match officials and coaches);


• thorough evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the medical protocol;


• the general precarious financial situation of the clubs due to the COVID-19 impact;


• matters imposed by UEFA (deadlines, sporting merit principles).

 

READ FULL STATEMENT

 

18 MAY, 2020

 

Contact sport restriction remains in place

 

In announcing the removal of of the second set of restrictive measures, the Government announces that only individual non-contact sport such as tennis and diving can resume as ban on football and contact sport remains in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Other changes implemented as of Friday, 22nd May, 2020:

 

  • The number of persons who can gather together in public places will rise from 4 to 6. Rules governing social distancing and against crowding must continue to be observed;

 

  • In the cultural sector, open-air cinemas will be allowed to reopen for those who wish to organise such activities; Individual non-contact sports such as diving and tennis will be permitted;

 

  • Outdoors training for other sports will be permitted so long as the group is up to a maximum of 6 persons.

 

READ PRESS RELEASE

 

21 MAY, 2020

 

The Executive Committee of the Malta Football Association met for the second time in four days via videoconference to continue discussions on the course of action to address the unprecedented challenges and difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Following the Executive Committee’s decision on Monday to terminate the BOV Premier League and FA Trophy after all the other competitions had been terminated on April 29, Malta FA President Bjorn Vassallo has called a videoconference meeting of the Council – the Association’s top decision-making body – for next Monday, May 25, 2020 at 4.30 p.m.

 

25 MAY, 2020

 

Malta FA Council decides on sporting outcomes of 2019/20 terminated leagues


The Malta Football Association convened a meeting of its Council via videoconference today to decide on the sporting outcomes of the 2019-20 championships organised by the Association, which have been prematurely terminated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The Council, as the top decision-making body of the Malta FA, comprises 53 members in representation of every club, 23 representing the Member Associations and the six officers of the Association.
 

After an open discussion on the motions tabled by the Association’s Executive Committee, the Council took the following decisions:
 

• The first-placed teams at the time when the competitions were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequently terminated, are declared winners of their respective leagues (2019/20). This applies to these championships – BOV Premier League, BOV First Division, BOV Second Division, BOV Third Division, BOV Women’s League, Women’s Under-19 League, Women’s Under-15 League, Youth Leagues Section A, B, C, D, E, Futsal Elite and Futsal Amateur Leagues.
 

• The two teams occupying first and second positions in the classification of the relevant championships are to be promoted.
 

• With regard to the 2019/20 BOV Second Division League, the Council voted that three teams be promoted as second-placed San Ġwann and third-placed Marsaxlokk were level on 38 points when the championship was suspended but the two teams had not played the same amount of matches.
 

• No teams in any league are to be relegated.
 

• The Council approved the temporary adjustments in the number of teams in the Malta FA leagues and Youth Leagues as a result of the afore-mentioned decisions regarding promotion and relegation.

 

READ FULL STATEMENT

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