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Muscat says calendar change is key for clubs

Malta Premier League Chairman Joseph Muscat. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

MPL propose January start to season

Malta Premier League chairman Joseph Muscat expressed his disappointment after clubs outside the Maltese top-flight turned down the proposal of changing the football calendar.

Muscat said that the Premier League clubs are unanimously in favour that the football calendar in Malta should be changed in a bid to help the country’s representatives in the UEFA club competition to secure their best possible results on the continent.

The Malta Premier League is proposing that the football season in Malta would start in January and come to a close in October.

However, speaking during a press conference where the latest changes in the Maltese Premier League were announced, Muscat said that the MPL had held talks with clubs from the Challenge League and the National Amateur League to discuss their proposal, however, they did not find the necessary backing to implement this change.

“It is very disappointing that our proposal to change our football calendar did not receive the support of clubs outside the Premier League,” Muscat said.

“There is a unanimous consensus among the Premier League clubs that our football season should start in January and come to a close in October. We are making this proposal as we firmly believe that such change would be of great benefit to those teams who will be representing Malta in the UEFA club competitions during the summer months.

“Our clubs have shown great improvement in their results in recent years. Such a change will further boost their chances of advancing further in the qualifiers and may be reaching the group stages of a UEFA club competition.

“One has to realise that with this change, our clubs would be given the opportunity to play their most important matches of the season at their peak, as they would have played more than half a season.
“Instead, in the current situations the clubs are finding themselves in a situation where their European assignments are their first matches of the season.”

Bold decisions

The Malta Premier League chairman said that Maltese football must be ready to take bold decisions and approve changes that can be beneficial to the whole ecosystem of Maltese football.

“If our clubs reach the group stages of UEFA club competitions, the financial rewards will not be just restricted to the successful clubs or the top-flight teams only but all clubs in Malta will benefit from this success,” Muscat said.

“If a Maltese club qualifies to the group stages of a UEFA club competition, the financial rewards for local football will reach unprecedented heights.

“This year the amount in Solidarity Funds that are given to clubs that don’t qualify to European football has increased from €600,000 to €1.2 million.

“If we have a team in Europe the amount of money that Maltese football will benefit from will be very high and half of the pot will be divided among all the divisions in Maltese football.

“I do understand that clubs outside the Premier League will be sceptical about what will be a radical change, but I can assure them that it will be for the benefit of Maltese football.

“We will continue our discussions with them with the aim of convincing them that it would be best for everyone involved.”

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