The Malta Independent 15 November 2018, Thursday

Football - Marsaxlokk Players expose club’s serious financial problems

Malta Independent Sunday, 13 November 2011, 00:00 Last update: about 8 years ago

Only some players are being paid; there is no coach at present and no medical assurances; MPFA to request MFA to open transfer window before January; players will perform today against Valletta, but then will have to make a new assessment of the situation in the coming days; they want club to officially recognise amounts due to them; foreigners booted out of their apartments by owners”

Marsaxlokk FC, Malta champions only four years ago, are in dire financial straits and the dreadful situation has led the players to expose the club’s problems.

According to the players, the club’s committee, which recently gave a vote of no confidence in president Robert Micallef, is working hard to try and alleviate the problems, but nothing substantial has yet been done.

Addressing a news conference yesterday morning, team captain Carlo Mamo said the club was facing a very difficult situation. “The administration is working, but the burden is very heavy. Every Premier club needs a sound financial structure which Marsaxlokk FC at present lacks. We are in poor physical condition because we have no coach to lead us. We are also faced with the serious problem of possible injuries. In that case, there is the possibility that we have no cover. But at least we have now been given 50 sessions at the MFA clinic as well as 23 others under a new machine and under the charge of Dr David Attard.

“It is disgraceful and appalling to see our colleagues - the foreign players - being booted out of their apartments by the owners as their rent was not paid for. Some of them even had to arrange loans to be able to survive because football is their full time job here,” said Mamo.

The captain went on to explain the frustration of the players. “In our last match, not only did we have no coach – although this problem might soon be solved – but there was also no therapist. One wonders what would have happened had one of us been injured. This is unacceptable. We are now requesting the MFA to step in and safeguard our interests unless something is done these days. What we are requesting is that the transfer window is opened immediately for Marsaxlokk so that its players will be able to join other clubs unless a quick solution is found. If that is done, the club and the players will benefit,” added Mamo.

Stand-in coach Malcolm Licari, who is also a player, explained that the club will be able to receive some much needed cash from the sale of players, while the players will be able to play the game in a tranquil manner. Two players have already left the club. If the transfer window is not lifted and some players get injured, they would not even get a call from other clubs. We believe now is the time for the MFA to step in and act accordingly. After all, we are aware that FIFA regulations allow such instances to help clubs and players,” he stated.

Licari also said that the players at present are not physically prepared to last the 90 minutes. “Our training is limited. Last week it became evident in the final minutes. Against Valletta (today) it will be even worse. Moreover, we are now having selection problems. One positive aspect is that we are guaranteed a physiotherapist for the Valletta match,” he said.

Dr A. Galea, from the Malta Football Players Association, which is defending the players’ case, said that it was important for the administration to recognise the amounts due to the players according to the contracts they signed with the club and which are deposited at the MFA. “We have had no answer so far from the club. What they told us earlier was that the club does not have the documents being requested by the players. But all they have to do is to get them from the MFA,” he said.

Asked whether such a situation would have occurred if Robert Micallef was still president of the club, Mamo said he could not guarantee anything. “Obviously some of the problems existed already before the vote of no confidence in Micallef. But now we have to see what the present administration of the club will be doing to solve the problems and lift the uncertainty created,” he added.

Mamo also stated clearly that the players had also considered seriously not playing the match against Valletta today. “But we all agreed to play as we are aware that the MFA and the club are collaborating. But if no progress is registered, then we will have to decide otherwise in the next few days. Thanks to the MFPA, we have proposed an action plan which should be set in motion immediately, but we have had no response so far,” he said.

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