The Malta Independent 16 May 2022, Monday

Marsaxlokk FC May face relegation

Malta Independent Saturday, 7 March 2009, 00:00 Last update: about 9 years ago

Marsaxlokk FC team manager Peter Hartshorne and midfielder Claude Mattocks yesterday pleaded guilty to attempting to bribe Msida St Joseph goalkeeper Matthew Camilleri on 23 November.

The court, presided over by magistrate Antonio Mizzi, heard how UK-born Hartshorne, 44, from Marsaxlokk, instructed 29-year-old Mattocks, from Birkirkara, to bribe Mr Camilleri ahead of a match played between the clubs on 23 November, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

Mattocks’ legal counsel Joseph Giglio asked the court to be given the chance to produce evidence and make his submissions at another stage. He said he will prove whether “Marsaxlokk approached Msida or vice versa; not only in this case but in other instances”. Magistrate Mizzi acceded to the request and put off the case to Thursday and granted both men bail against a personal guarantee of e2,000 each.

Incidentally, Marsaxlokk FC won a crucial match against Msida SJ on Saturday, which helped the south seasiders overtake the Saints by a point and avoid playing the Relegation Pool.

Marsaxlokk FC president Robert Micallef was present during the court hearing. The club, which won the Premier League 2006/2007, might face serious repercussions given that club official Hartshorne admitted wrongdoing. He is both team manager and a member of the council of the Malta Football Association.

Speaking to this newspaper, MFA president Joe Mifsud said that the case will be referred to the association’s board to investigate corrupt practices. Sanctions might vary from reduction of points to relegation.

In 2003, a Qormi FC official was recorded trying to bribe a rival player. The club was subsequently suspended till the end of the season and relegated from the first to the third division in the following season.

Mattocks, a former Malta international, was handed a four-month suspension after he tested positive when playing for Valletta during last season. In August, he joined Marsaxlokk FC on a four-year contract before the Court of Arbitration for Sport accepted an appeal by world football governing body FIFA and the World Anti-Doping Agency that he was handed a too lenient penalty. Thus, he was handed another eight-month suspension, which he is currently serving.

Police Inspector Angelo Gafà prosecuted while Dr Giglio appeared for Mattocks and Dr Franco Debono appeared for Hartshorne.

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