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Hibernians face tricky start to title defence with clashes against Valletta, Ħamrun Spartans

Champions Hibernians will open their title defence with a clash against Valletta as the draws of the Premier League were held at the Malta FA FA on Monday.

This season’s BOV Premier League will have its own old format of being played by 14 teams and will get under way on August 19 with the final match of the season scheduled for April 28.

The top team will be crowned as Malta champions and will play in the Champions League while the second and third-placed teams will feature in the UEFA Conference League.

The Paolites, who won a 13th title crown last season, will be bidding to make a strong start but face a testing start to the campaign.

In fact, Hibernians will open their campaign against a Valletta side who will surely be hellbent to make up for a disappointing 2021-22 campaign that saw them miss out on a place in the Top Six, and a place in European football next season.

After that opening fixture, the Paolites will be up against Ħamrun Spartans, the team they succeeded as Malta champions last season.

On the other hand, the Spartans kickstart their league challenge with a clash against newly-promoted side Marsaxlokk while Floriana, last season’s runners-up, will also open their campaign against a new face in the Maltese top-flight, Pietà Hotspurs.

Giovanni Tedesco will lead Birkirkara against one of his former teams on the opening day of the season as the Stripes take on Sirens.

Gżira United open their commitments against a Sta Lucia side who were reinstated to the top-flight after Pembroke Athleta opted to forfeit their berth in the Premier League and opted to apply for a licence to play in the National Amateur League.

The other match-day 1 fixtures see Balzan take on last season’s Challenge League champions Żebbuġ Rangers while Mosta face Gudja United.

The Premier League will again be played at the National Stadium and the Tony Bezzina Stadium while there will also be matches played at the Centenary Stadium.

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