The Malta Independent 3 December 2021, Friday

Sliema players ‘struggling to feed themselves’ after not receiving salaries for months, MFPA says

Albert Galea Thursday, 28 January 2021, 15:25 Last update: about 11 months ago

A number of Sliema Wanderers FC full-time football players are literally struggling to feed themselves and their families after not receiving salaries for months, the Malta Football Players Association (MFPA) has said in a statement.

The MFPA said that players have not received salaries for this season, while others are owed money from as far back as February 2020 – not to mention there being other players who have moved on to other clubs are still owed money for past seasons.

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The statement comes as Sliema faces internal turmoil which has seen the resignation of the club’s team manager Alex Muscat and its vice-president Keith Perry and amidst reports that certain key players are becoming increasingly frustrated at the club and considering leaving during the current January transfer window.

Television show L-Argument in fact reported on Thursday that key players Oscar Linton and Sylvano Comvalius have left the club because Sliema had failed to honour their contracts and because they are owed some €150,000 between them.  NET Television's Replay also reported on Wednesday that Sliema run the risk of losing Brazilian talisman Gilmar, who has tried to tout himself to other local clubs, and Juri Ciscotti, who is attracting interest from Hibernians FC.

Perry’s departure, which Sliema said in an official statement was due to personal reasons, is news of a certain significance: he was Sliema’s club president for a number of years, but relinquished that role to Jeffrey Farrugia – a well-known figure in the footballing world and better known by his nicknames Il-Vinc – who came with the promise of bringing significant investment into the club.

That investment came in the form of a foreign investment group named Catco, a Tunisian-based company which calls itself a player in the oil, gas, and automative industry in Africa and the Middle East.

Catco group was thrust into the spotlight when former PN leader Adrian Delia fronted a 500,000 donation to the Dar tal-Providenza during the Christmas period.  That donation is undergoing standard due diligence investigations, while Delia said that he had carried out his own due diligence on it as well.

Despite the donation however, it appears that Sliema as a football club are mired in financial trouble.

A number of Sliema Wanderers FC full-time players are literally struggling to feed themselves and their families. It is...

Posted by Malta Football Players Association on Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Sliema already face a FIFA and MFA transfer ban due to outstanding balances for cases they lost against 3 players, all of which were represented by MFPA.

“Without salaries, some full time players are literally struggling to feed themselves and their families. It is completely irresponsible and unacceptable that Clubs are allowed to offer new contracts and commence a season in the Maltese Premier league, whilst the dues from previous seasons have as yet not been paid”, the MFPA said.

They continued by stating that better due diligence protocols should be established to ensure that people at the helm of clubs are able to fulfil contractual obligations which they themselves negotiate.

“Clubs who gravely and/or repeatedly fail to fulfil what is legally and contractually owed to their employees must face repercussions. Anything else would effectively negate the financial fair play rules and is unjust not only to players but also to other Premier League clubs who abide by their contractual obligations”, they continued.

The MFPA said that it has sent an official email, requesting the Club to comply with its contractual obligations. No feedback has as yet been received. Should full payment not be made within the regulatory established time frame, there will be no option but to take legal steps to recover salaries owed, they said.

Sliema started this season strongly after a number of marquee signings, which included former Arsenal player and Brazil international Denilson, and where top of the table at a point in December.  However they have since dropped to 5th in the 16-team league, after winning only two games out of the last six.

It’s not the first time that a relatively unknown foreign investor has swooped into a Maltese club with certain major promises, only for them to peter out into nothing.

That fate befell Naxxar Lions after they were taken over by Syrian billionaire Yahya Kirdi.  Much promise was made on strengthening the club’s squad and even building a new sports complex – however things went sour after Naxxar were relegated from the BOV Premier League. 

Kirdi was ousted from the club but has since sued both them and the MFA for some €600,000 in a Canadian court over the damages he suffered during his tenure.

 

 

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