Malta will remain the only European country that does not allow its local football league to continue as the Superintendent of Public Health made it clear there were laws and mitigation measures in place that needed to be followed.
Asked by Lovin Malta whether there was any chance that the league would reopen following team Malta’s national coach Devis Mangia’s request for it, she noted that while exemptions can be made for special cases, the law must be followed.
“At the moment we have a law and a legal notice which says that any organised sport cannot be held. There is also a clause that an exemption can only be given if a national team needs to prepare for a major international competition,” she said.
“As you saw this week, the national team was given permission to prepare for the match against Russia,” she continued, “but even in that exemption they are given conditions that have to be respected so that they work in a bubble and measures remain in place.”
Earlier this month, the Maltese government banned all organised sports in light of a surge of COVID-19 cases, putting an abrupt halt to the national team’s training schedule just weeks before its first 2022 World Cup Qualifying match.
This week, MFA representatives met with the Premier League and Challenge League clubs to come up with a proposal for health authorities. However, it seems there has been little movement from the top.
Following Malta’s 3-1 defeat to Russia, Devis Mangia urged the authorities to allow football leagues to continue for the sake of the fitness of players.
“How can I tell players to stay fit when they can’t train for three or four months? And then I have to tell them to play for World Cup Qualifiers in September. It’s not possible,” he said.