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Birkirkara to miss league opener unless players quarantine is lifted by Wednesday

Birkirkara have informed the Malta FA that they will be unable to honour their opening BOV Premier League fixture against Valletta FC next month if their players are not given permission to end their quarantine period by Wednesday.

Last week, the Stripes announced that they had suspended all their training activities after a member of their senior squad tested positive for COVID-19.

All members of the first-team squad underwent COVID-19 swab tests and were put into quarantine until August 28.

Michael Valenzia, the Birkirkara FC vice-president, told the Times of Malta on Tuesday that they had informed the Malta Football Association that their players will not be medically cleared to play their opening Premier League fixture against Valletta, scheduled to be played between September 11 and 13, unless they will be given the green light to return to training tomorrow.

“The situation at our club at the moment is that all members of the first team squad are on quarantine until August 27,” Valenzia said.

“Every player who under went the test received a letter from the government and the health authorities that ordered them to remain at home for 14 days.

“Our medical doctors have made it very clear with us that if those players who tested negative for COVID-19 are not given permission to return to training tomorrow it will be impossible for them to play their league opener against Valletta.

“Our first team squad has returned to training after four months of inactivity and they have only managed 12 days of pre-season training. All the physical work that the players have done so far has already been lost but if we are given permission to return to training by Wednesday we are ready to get back to work and try and recover what we have lost with double sessions.

“If we are forced to stay in quarantine until August 28 then we it’s medically impossible for our player to be fit to play our league opener just two weeks later. That is because we would be putting our players in risk of serious injury.

“How can one pretend that a player can play a league match, having only took part in 22 training sessions and one friendly match that lasted 70 minutes in a space of five and a half months.”

Valenzia said that Birkirkara remained consistent in their position since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March when they were one of three clubs in the Premier League who wanted that competitive football resumed.

However, he said that the sudden rise in COVID-19 cases is making life difficult for the players who some of them were forced to leave their house to protect those close to them.

“To be honest I find it very difficult to understand how when in April and May, much lower number in cases, we couldn’t play and now that the number of cases have risen significantly everyone is pushing for football to return normally next month,” Valenzia said.

“One has to remember that our players have their own families to take care of them and some of them are still leaving with their parents and were forced to leave their house to ensure they do not threaten the well-being of their loved ones.

“The situation is getting very serious and honestly it looks very difficult for competitive football to start again next month.”

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