By Daniel Ellul
Sports Minister Clifton Grima has challenged the Nationalist party to go to the police with any evidence of match-fixing after an MP told parliament it was widespread in Maltese football.
David Agius told parliament on Tuesday that the results of many local matches are pre-determined and that people in the know are already aware of who will win the Malta Premier League.
The shadow sports minister referred to a specific, undated match when he claimed a goalkeeper was offered “a bag full of cash” to let in four goals, and when he refused, a reserve goalkeeper let the goals in any way.
Asked about the claims, Grima said the comments were “unacceptable”.
He said: “If they know about anything, they should report everything to the police.”
RELATED STORIES: An overview of Malta’s match-fixing legislation
The sports minister’s comments reflect those made by the Malta Football Association on Wednesday, who said claims of corruption in the local sport were “mere speculation” and a “slap in the face” to footballers and fans.
‘I went to the police’- Grima
Speaking about his time as a committee member with Sliema Wanderers, Grima said that he had gone to the police when he had evidence of match fixing.
“I went to the police commissioner back in 2010 or 2011. Action was taken, and there were even procedures in court,” he said.
“If they (members of the opposition) know anything, they should go to the police. That’s what I did when I had information, and others should do the same”.
There have been cases of match-fixing in Maltese football.
In 2021, Rudgear Scerri was handed a suspended sentence and a €50,000 fine after admitting to match-fixing charges relating to Attard FC.
And in 2018, Uchenna Anyanwu, manager of the Pembroke Athleta football team, was handed a one-year suspended jail term, and fined €1,000.
Two former members of the Under-21 Maltese national football team, Kyle Cesare, and Emanuel Briffa, were also found guilty of match-fixing after a court of appeal overturned the original judgment that had cleared them.
Grima said the Authority for Integrity in Maltese Sport was created to battle corruption and that amendments to the Sports Governance and Integrity Act will strengthen powers in the fight against corruption.
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