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New Premier League format approved by UEFA

UEFA has given its green light to a new format for the Maltese Premier League. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

European governing body asks for introduction of Play-off Final or Final Four tournament to guarantee sporting merits

UEFA has given the Malta Premier League the green light to its new proposed league format for top-flight Maltese football.

In a statement, the Malta Premier League said that the European football governing body had made some minor adjustments to the format as proposed.

This consists of introducing a Play-off Final or the Final Four to determine the teams that will represent Malta in the UEFA Club competitions.

“The Malta Premier League is proud to announce that UEFA has concluded that the new proposed league format meets its key requirements is in conformity with its regulations,” the Malta Premier League said in a statement.

“This conclusion follows discussions between UEFA, MFA and MPL. The latter was assisted by European Leagues.

“The green light was given following minor tweaks to the proposal to further assure sporting merits and rankings.  This includes the introduction of a possibility of both a Playoff Final and a Final Four according to the standings of the Opening and Closing Rounds.

“This decision was a condition to the MFA’s prior approval of the new league format.”

The 14 clubs that form part of the Malta Premier League approved the new format earlier this year.

How will the plan change Maltese football?

The format submitted by the MPL chairman to the affiliated clubs in the Malta Premier League will see a 12-team Premier League championship.

Those 12 teams will compete in two phases – the winter championship and the spring championship.

The 12 teams will first face each other in a round-robin format in the first round.

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 there are different teams UEFA’s proposal of introducing a play-off final or Final Four will come into effect.

A play-off final for the championship will be played in the case that the same teams will be placed in the top two teams with one placing first in the opening phase and is runner-up in the second.

Should four different teams will placed in the top two places in both phases of the competition a Final Four tournament will be played, and will decide the Malta champions and the other two teams that will qualify for European football.

A more expansive explanation of the format is set to be announced next week when the Malta Premier League announces the new format in a news conference.

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