A lack of coherent guidance from health authorities on COVID-19 measures risks jeopradising the foundations of sports in Malta, two of the country’s largest sporting associations warn.
In a joint press statement, the Malta Football Association and Aquatic Sports Association stressed the importance of having sports during a time of challenge both for athletes and the country.
“These are challenging times when society needs sport more than ever for its own wellbeing, both physical and mental.”
“The absence of exemptions that take into account the requirements of athletes at the elite level is seriously jeopardising the staging of matches and sports competitions in general. Eventually, this state of affairs will threaten the very existence of sports associations,” it said.
With a string of domestic and international competitions lined up, sporting bodies are appealing for clearer guidance from health authorities to ensure that players are able to compete to their best of their ability and in a safe manner.
However, the lack of guidance not only inhibits an athlete’s ability to perform to their very best but also risks causing reputational damage to Malta’s image at an international level.
“If this situation persists and potentially deteriorates, Malta’s participation in the upcoming UEFA Nations League could be in jeopardy, causing reputational damage to our country’s image at the international level.”
The MFA found itself in hot water earlier this year after it was forced to make a decision on the sporting outcome of the 2019/20 Premier League season which resulted in Floriana FC claiming the title after an unprecedented vote.
Last week, the football body made clear its intentions to commence with the domestic competition come 11th September.
On the other hand, the ASA has taken necessary measures to ensure protocols are met and have even suspended the waterpolo season as a result of several players testing positive for COVID-19.
“Best practices from other countries have shown that the requirements of elite sport in this context have been addressed through ad-hoc legislation based on scientific evidence, affording targeted exemptions from certain restrictions such as self-isolation.”
Despite attempts to establish a coherent set of guidelines, the MFA and ASA have been left with mixed messages and an uncertain future.
“Both the Malta FA and the ASA have been proactive by drawing up and submitting proposals to the local health authorities. However, our athletes and clubs keep receiving mixed messages and little guidance,” the press release ended.