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Senglea’s Scicluna defends his innocence following racist allegations

MFA to refer case to the Ethics and Integrity Committee

Senglea Athletic defender Andre Scicluna has rejected allegations that he passed on racist remarks towards Birkirkara forward Paul Mbong during Sunday’s Premier League clash at the National Stadium.

The young Birkirkara forward revealed the allegations, without revealing the identity of the Senglea defender, following the 2-1 over the Cottonera side on Sunday.

Birkirkara FC has since written to the Malta FA to open an investigation. The local governing body of football said that the Disciplinary Commissioner will bas his judgement on the referee report but added that it would be referring the case to the Ethics and Integrity Committee.

“Reference is made to the incident that occurred in the closing minutes of Sunday’s BOV Premier League match between Senglea Athletic and Birkirkara which resulted in the dismissal of players Andrè Scicluna and Paul Mbong,” the MFA said.

“The nature of the on-pitch incident restricts the extent of the disciplinary action which will be addressed through the established procedures and structures, meaning that the Disciplinary Commissioner’s first-instance judgement will be based on the official reporting submitted to date.

“However, given the seriousness of the claims made thereafter, the Association has formally asked its Ethics and Integrity Committee to look into the case by way of verifying the facts. Any further action would depend on the findings of this assessment.

“Without any prejudice to this case, the Malta FA reiterates its commitment to fighting racism while encouraging and promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in football as reflected by the ongoing initiatives and projects.”

On his part, Scicluna has categorically denied the claims made by the Birkirkara forward.

“I have so far remained silent on this incident. However, now that my name has been linked to the case on local media, I feel that I have been left with no choice but to speak up and set the record straight as to what happened during yesterday’s match against Birkirkara,” Scicluna wrote on his facebook page.

“I got sent off for a double yellow card after having a heated argument with another player, following a tackle and verbal offences coming my way, to which I equally responded. I want to apologise to my team-mates for leaving them to finish the game with 10 men.

“I’m aware I should not give in to provocations of this nature, and I am not proud for having retaliated. Notwithstanding this, I feel that I must emphasize and make it clear that my reaction in no way whatsoever consisted of any racial references.

“Anyone who knows me knows that I have shared dressing rooms with team mates of various ethnicities, and I have always built great relationships and made a lot of friendships throughout my career.

“I have utmost respect for all individuals, regardless of their ethnicity, skin colour or race. I strongly condemn racism in any shape or form and believe that more needs to be done to defeat such a horrible phenomenon. As an educator myself, I strive to pass on these beliefs to the next generation, and always seek to create awareness and promote mutual respect.”

Scicluna said that it’s disappointing that the circumstances surrounding the incident have been changed to give a different version of the events.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that the circumstances surrounding this incident have been twisted to portray a totally different picture to what actually happened, in an attempt to diminish a person’s own wrongdoing, or somehow justify it, whilst irresponsibly attempting to tarnish another person’s reputation,” the Senglea defender said.

“It is truly a vile gesture for someone to use his skin colour as a weapon to shed bad light on a counterparty and victimise oneself to justify one’s own bad behaviour. Using such a serious matter dishonestly does not render justice to this important cause.

“I’m shocked that our argument did not end on the pitch, as often happens in cases were two players clash in the heat of the moment. I am extremely saddened to see that this incident has been painted in such a skewed manner and blown out of proportion in such an outrageous way.”

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