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Watch: Malta FA condemns skirmishes at the end of U-17 Knock Out semi-final

The Malta Football Association has condemned the violent scenes that marred Sunday’s U-17 Knock Out semi-final between Hibernians and Pieta Hotspurs which was played at the Charles Abela Stadium on Sunday.

Hibernians booked their place into the Knock Out final after they beat the Hotspurs 1-0, courtesy of a Deisler Vella goal after 62 minutes of the game.

However, the match was marred by some disgraceful scenes at the end of the game.

Footage which circulated on social media showed that after the final whistle, some Pieta fans stormed onto the pitch to confront members of the Hibernians coaching staff and a melee ensued.

Ground officials were forced to call the police to restore order.

The Malta FA vehemently condemned the ‘act of aggression’ that occurred during the match and emphasised that the youth football environment should be a ‘safe and enjoyable space for all participants’.

“The Malta Football Association condemns any act of aggression that occurred during the recent Hibernians vs. Pietà U17KO semi-final match held at Charles Abela Stadium in Mosta on Sunday 21st April 2024,” the statement said.

“The youth football environment should be a safe and enjoyable space for all participants, free from any form of violence or aggression. The values of respect, fair play, and sportsmanship should be maintained at all levels of the game, and especially in youth football.

“The Malta FA will allow for the respective disciplinary process to take its course in relation to persons within its jurisdiction. It is imperative that all individuals involved in football, especially in youth categories, understand the importance of positive conduct both on and off the field, and that their behaviour may render their respective clubs liable to disciplinary sanctions.

“The Malta FA will cooperate with the police in identifying the persons involved. It will continue to work tirelessly to promote a culture of respect and integrity within Maltese football, ensuring that incidents like these are dealt with swiftly and with the seriousness they deserve.”

Pieta Hotspurs have also issued a statement on the incident, where they emphasised their concern about the incidents on Sunday and said that their team was provoked during the match

“We, at Pieta Hotspurs Football Club Academy, are deeply concerned about the incidents that transpired following the Under 17 Knockout match between Pieta Hotspurs and Hibernians,” the statement said.

“Our foremost priority remains the safety and well-being of our players, staff and supporters.

“Throughout the match, there were instances of provocation from the Hibernians-appointed videographer. Such behaviour is unacceptable and goes against the spirit of fair play and sportsmanship that we uphold.

“We unequivocally condemn the altercation that occurred after the match. Violence has no place in football and we are committed to working with the relevant authorities to ensure that such incidents are thoroughly investigated and addressed.

“As a club we are dedicated to fostering a positive and respectful environment both on and off the field.”

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