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Pembroke Athleta to forfeit place in Premier League due to financial difficulties

Pembroke Athleta will apply to play in the National Amateur League next season. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Club to apply for licence to play in National Amateur League

Pembroke Athleta will forfeit their place in the Premier League for the 2022-23 season for financial reasons and will instead apply to play in the National Amateur League, president Alex Calleja confirmed to the Times of Malta.

Pembroke Athleta are coming from an excellent campaign in the Challenge League which has seen them run away with Section A.

In fact, Jacques Scerri’s team finished at the top of the standings on 48 points, seven clear of Marsaxlokk, and more impressively ended their commitments with an unbeaten record after 20 matches.

However, this week, the Pembroke Athleta committee met and took the difficult decision not to apply for a licence in next season’s Premier League and instead opt for a place in the National Amateur League.

“This has been a very difficult decision for us,” club president Alex Calleja told the Times of Malta.

“As a principle we always field our best 11 players and try and get the best possible result. But sometimes you need to take a step back if you are facing the prospect of putting the club in an unsustainable financial position.

“During the last few years, we worked hard to try and have our Commercialisation of Sports Facilities project approved by the authorities but our two submissions have been both rejected. For this venture we have forked out over €100,000.

“That put us in a difficult position and we had a clear choice, either play in the Premier League and see the club go through a rough time or else apply for a licence to play in the Amateur League and try and put our finances back in order and hopefully during this period we will be able to embark on our Commercialisation of Sports facilities project.”

Saliba said that his priority at the moment is to ensure that the club will be in a position to earn some income and not put the club in danger of endangering its future.

“We need to have a clear direction to where we can be in a position to have more income than expenditure,” Saliba said.

“Maltese football is not financially viable and I don’t want to play in the Premier League if I am not in a position to be competitive. Now, in the coming weeks, the Malta FA will ask the clubs to submit their applications for licenses ahead of next season and we will opt to play in the National Amateur League.

“I am taking this decision with a heavy heart but I don’t want to put the club in a risky situation. At the end of the day, I want to follow the principle of fair play which says that you don’t go to compete in a league where you are unable to play in.”

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