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Marsa FC players seek answers over unpaid wages

Club president failed to honour February 28 deadline to pay back-dated wages

Marsa FC players have issued a statement where they are asking the real reason why the club has failed to abide by their promises over unpaid wages that date back to the start of the season.

The Challenge League side has been passing through some tough times from a financial point of view this season with the club’s administration, spearheaded by president Francesco Ruggeri, failing to honour his contracts with his players since last September.

But despite these problems the team continued to perform and are still in the running to reach the pre-season goal of winning promotion to the Premier League with the team currently third in Section B on 35 points, one point adrift of second-placed Pieta Hotspurs and one clear of Tarxien Rainbows with just two matches to go till the end of the season.

In a statement, the Marsa FC players maintained that president Ruggeri had failed to honour an agreement he had with the players and members of the technical staff to pay backdated wages by February 28.

“Unfortunately the situation at the club is worrying, even though the team is performing very well and has a good chance of challenging and securing Promotion to Premier and we have been going through a string of very positive results wherein the last nine league games Marsa only lost one,” the statement said.

“The same cannot be said when it comes to finances (wages of players, coaches and staff members of the said club). There are players who are due from October and even a specific case from September.

“Unfortunately, there are also players that have not been paid from the beginning of the season too. There were a lot of confrontations and meetings with President Francesco Ruggeri on such matter from players, coaches and also committee members but there was always an excuse; once it was because of the mandate of sequestration, then because the bank is taking too long to process the payments, then due to festive holidays then it was because of COVID.

“We find these as excuses, one after the other. Not to mention there were instances where players especially foreign players who during Christmas had no money at all and had to borrow money from other players, coaches and committee members.”

The Marsa FC players said that they had signed an agreement in December with the president that said that payments will be done by February 28, but yet the club again failed to keep his promise.

“In December we had agreed to sign an agreement with the club due to arrears of 2021 as this had to be presented to the MFA,” the statement said.

“So to help and show our commitment to the club, committee members persuaded us to sign this letter and reach an agreement with the President that all payments due to us had to be paid by not later than 28th February 2022. Nearly all the players agreed to sign such a letter as we wanted to remain loyal and honest so that we reach the targets set at the beginning of the season, that of challenging and securing Premier League Football next season.

“However not even this agreement did the President abide with, and even the committee now feel that they have been lied to and let down a lot as he has not kept his word and did not keep up with the agreements of more than 20 players.

“More than 18 days have passed now from the deadline of such agreement and no one as yet has received any payments and when everyone confronted President Ruggeri we (players, coaches, staff and committee) all got the same reply that the Bank is delaying the payments and there is nothing he can do. When asked for payment receipts we were not given such receipts either which gives us the impression that payments have not been made.

“Last week as a team we re-discussed the issue and we were promised that today 21st March 2022 all arrears would be paid but again even today this has not happened.”

The Marsa FC players said that they have no intention of causing damage to Marsa FC or the name of the club but because they believe that enough is enough and want the truth to come out.

“We feel very angry, let down, and lied too many times during these 8 months. Patience has a limit. And now everyone involved in this club has lost his patience. This is totally unacceptable,” the statement concluded.

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