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Malta Premier League approves ‘South American’ format for top-flight championship

New format proposal to be presented for MFA Council approval

The Malta Premier League took a major step towards finalising a new format for the top flight for the next five years after approving through a majority vote a ‘South American model’ presented to the clubs by chairman Joseph Muscat.

Representatives of the 14 Premier League clubs met on Monday afternoon to discuss a format proposal made by Dr Muscat and after long discussions a vote was taken and the new format was approved with nine votes in favour, four against, and one abstention.

Now, this format will be presented to the MFA Council on Tuesday and if it’s given the green light it will be approved for the next five years.

“The clubs that form part of the Malta Premier League today have voted in favour of a new format for the top division of Maltese football for the next five years,” the Malta Premier League said in a statement.

“The new format is based on a South American system known as Apertura and Clausura and will have Opening and Closing Rounds with the possibility of play-offs.

“Now the proposal will pass to the Malta FA Executive Committee after discussions were already held with the MFA administration.

“Details will be explained to the public once the process is completed.”

The format submitted by the MPL chairman to the affiliated clubs in the Malta Premier League consists of having the Premier League championship formed by 12 teams.

The 12 teams will be competing in two phases – the winter championship and the spring championship.

In the Winter Championship, the 12 teams will face each other in a round-robin format in the first round.

Then at the end of the first round, the championship will split into two sections, featuring the top six teams in one and the remaining six teams in the other.

The first-placed team in the section featuring the top six teams will be declared the winner of the Winter Championship while the bottom two teams in the section featuring the bottom sides will be facing relegation.

The Premier League championship will then resume with the second phase which will consist of the Spring Championship.

Here, all teams will again start from scratch and no points will be carried from the Winter Championships.

The same format of the Winter Championship will again be adopted, with all teams facing each other in a round-robin format, before being split into two sections of six teams each.

If the top-placed side in the Spring Championship is the same as the one that topped the Winter Championship they will be declared Malta champions. If they are different teams they will contest a play-off to declare who wins the league title.

The two bottom teams of the Spring Championship will be relegated if they are the same teams who finished in the last two places of the Winter Championship.

If they are different teams who finished in the last two places they will be involved in relegation play-offs.

The same format will be adopted for the European places through the Premier League standings.

If the second-placed and third-placed teams are the same in both championships they will qualify for the UEFA Conference League.

If a team that placed outside the top three in the Winter Championship will finish as runner-up or in third place they will contest play-offs for spot in the UEFA Conference League.

Now that the format was approved by the top-flight clubs, the MPL will take now submit their proposal to the MFA who will discuss the matter during the next Council meeting.

Sources told the Times of Malta that the local governing body of football is warm towards this format and it is likely that they will also give their seal of approval to the format, and will start as from next season.

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