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Joseph Muscat Wants Maltese Clubs Who Qualify For European Group Stages To Divide Prize Money With Their Rivals 

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Former Prime Minister and newly-appointed Malta Premier League Chairman Joseph Muscat has said that any Maltese club which qualifies to the group stage of a European competition should be made to divide their winnings among all other clubs.

Interviewed by Fabian Demicoli for Malta Daily, Muscat said that he is sure at least one Maltese club will finally qualify to the group stage of the Europa League or the Conference League within the next 3-4 years.

Clubs that qualify to the groups are entitled to a significant amount of prize money, with the rewards for the 2022-23 season set at €3.63 million for the Europa League, €2.94 million for the Conference League and €15.64 million for the Champions League.

Even more prize money is at stake depending on clubs’ performances in their group and their progress in the competition.

However, Muscat said that this will create a huge imbalance within the Maltese Premier League and turn the competition into a one-horse or two-horse race.

“These clubs will have a budget the likes of which have never been seen in Malta and the other clubs will lose heart when competing against teams with a more organised structure who can afford to pay more money for players. The league will then become a battle for third place.”

“We need to avoid this, not by holding those clubs which want to progress back but by implementing a solidarity payment scheme whereby part of the prize money must be shared among other teams. Therefore, will the clubs that qualify to the groups will rise, the other clubs won’t sink but rise along with them.”

While he admitted that top clubs will be reluctant to implement this season, he urged them to understand that there are “ups and downs in football, as in life”.

“Ħamrun Spartans were top of the pops when I was young, then they vanished and now they’ve risen again. Valletta and Birkirkara are rebuilding, while Gżira was an unknown club which has now risen. Let’s have a situation where teams can compete and fight in the football ground but benefit from a sense of stability.”

No Maltese club has ever qualified to the group stage of a European competition but Ħamrun Spartans came extremely close this season, knocking Bulgarian giants Leviski Sofia out of the Conference League before losing out to Partizan Belgrade 7-4 on aggregate in the play-off round.

Hibernians also came close, losing 4-2 on aggregate to Latvia’s RFS in the third qualifying round and missing out on a play-off game against Northern Ireland’s Linfield.

Cover photo: Left: Ħamrun Spartans came extremely close to qualifying to the Conference League group stages this year (Photo: Ħamrun Spartans – Facebook), Right: Former Prime Minister and newly-appointed Malta Premier League Chairman Joseph Muscat during his interview with Malta Daily

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Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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