Malta FA accuses government of contempt for professional sport after COVID-19 sport ban extended

The Maltese Football Association has lashed out at the government and local health authorities for extending the ban on all sporting activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This morning, Prime Minister Robert Abela spoke at a press conference where he said schools would reopen on Monday, with further restrictions eased towards the end of the month. There was no mention of when sporting activities will be allowed.

Organized sports were banned last month following a spike in COVID-19 cases. Similar bans have been implemented in other European countries, however, Malta is the only one in which no exemptions have been made for professional sport.

The MFA said it had pleaded with authorities to lift the ban on elite sports, especially this national team, the Premier Division and the Challenge Cup.

Significant efforts, he said, have been made in recent months to ensure the sport continues. This included setting up a health authority approved contact tracing system for all players and staff. Taking into account the cost of testing and expenses related to security protocols, the MFA has so far disbursed more than € 2 million.

“These efforts were rejected with the decision to keep the current ban on contact sports in effect,” read a statement from the MFA.

“The total disregard for sport as a profession by policy makers is very disheartening and undermines all initiatives that the Association undertakes to improve the level of the game and subsequently our national teams.”

The MFA insisted on the fact that despite repeated representations to the authorities, “no consideration has been given to the social and economic impact that such a decision inflicts on the livelihoods of many actors, technical staff and administrators. , not to mention the economic and social benefits for the country, including the aspect of health and well-being ”.

The statement also pointed out that data released by public health authorities had repeatedly shown that the impact of sport on the spread of the virus was “negligible”.

Finally, the MAE declared that it had always fulfilled its responsibilities and had always followed the advice and recommendations issued by the health authorities.

“In what can be considered a déjà vu from last year, this extended ban represents a simple comprehensive approach that confirms that sport is still considered an amateur business,” the statement concluded.

Do you think professional sport should be exempt from the ban on sport?

Sara R. Cicero