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MFA Executive Board turns down Portelli’s bid to register as a Ħamrun Spartans player

The Malta Football Association’s Executive Board have turned down a request made by Ħamrun Spartans to have their president Joseph Portelli registered as a player.

The local governing body of football called an urgent meeting on Tuesday to discuss Portelli’s request to be registered as a player of his club Ħamrun Spartans.

Last week, Joseph Portelli resigned as president of Ħamrun Spartans in order to register himself as a player, since the association’s regulations a club president is precluded from being registered as a player with that same club. 

On Monday, the Malta FA formally accepted the Gozitan developer’s resignation as president of Ħamrun Spartans FC, paving the way for the club to register him as a player.

However, the Malta FA immediately referred the case to the ethics and compliance committee on the basis of its reputational risk management policy.

The ethics committee convened on Monday night to discuss Portelli’s application and recommended to the Executive Board not to accept his registration application.

After almost two hours of discussion, the Malta FA top brass voted against giving permission to Portelli to register as a player with Ħamrun Spartans and follow the ethics committee recommendation.

“The Malta FA Executive Board met today to discuss the request by Ħamrun Spartans FC to register Mr Joseph Portelli as a professional player following his resignation from the post of club president,” an MFA statement said.

“The recommendation of the Ethics and Compliance Committee not to accept the registration was confirmed by the Executive Board, which is ultimately the competent body to decide on such matters on the basis of the Association’s Reputational Risk Management Policy.”

Portelli can still continue his fight as he has the right to appeal the decision.

The construction magnate wanted to register as a player as he wanted to play for a few minutes in one of the final matches after the team had amassed enough points to secure the title.

Last weekend, the Spartans beat Sirens 3-0 to remain 11 points clear at the top of the standings with nine matches to go and look set to secure their ninth title in their history.

Some football clubs and Malta Premier League chairman Joseph Muscat have urged him to desist, warning that it would harm his reputation and the “integrity of football”.

But Portelli went ahead with his plan, arguing that he has dreamt of playing in the Premier League since he was a child.

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