The Malta national football team will play Russia next week after the team was exempted from a new COVID-19 measure that banned all organised sports.
Lovin Malta is informed that the team is back to training after Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci exercised her legal powers to exempt the team from the new measure following a week-long discussion between the Malta Football Association and health authorities.
The national team will save face as it meets Russia in the first of its 2022 World Cup Qualifiers at Ta’ Qali on 24th March while also avoiding hefty fines and sanctions from FIFA if the team did not show up for the match.
The remaining two World Cup Qualifiers in March are against Slovakia and Croatia – both being played abroad in countries recording a rise in COVID-19 cases.
The national team will remain in a bubble and under strict UEFA medical protocols until 31st March, following the conclusion of its match against Croatia.
Head Coach Devis Mangia has already announced his 30-man squad for the upcoming fixtures, featuring a mixture of veterans and first-timers.
A legal notice introduced last week in light of rising COVID-19 cases has been an abrupt end to organised sports in Malta. While the exemption for national team duties is welcomed, other sporting bodies are left wondering if they will be given the same treatment by health authorities.
One such body is the Malta Paralympic Committee which has appealed to heal authorities to allow prospective paralympic athletes to compete at an official event this March so that they can record a Minimum Qualification Standard for the summer games.
If not allowed, the few talented paralympic athletes on the island might never get a chance to compete for a spot at the summer games.
Cover Photo Credit: Domenic Aquilina
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