HomeSportsMFA slams David Agius 'speculation' about corruption in Maltese football

MFA slams David Agius ‘speculation’ about corruption in Maltese football

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The Malta Football Association has shot down PN MP David Agius’ claims of corruption in the local sport as “mere speculation” and a “slap in the face” to footballers and fans.

“It is extremely disappointing for the Association to note that discussion in the country’s highest political institution is reduced to conjecture and speculation when debating a matter of such importance for sport in general,” the MFA said.

“So many people dedicate time, effort, and resources daily to contribute towards the game. Some of the reported claims are nothing short of a slap in the face for all those athletes, volunteers, and most of all fans.”

Agius claimed in a parliamentary speech on Tuesday evening that many local matches are fixed and that people in the know are already aware of who will win the Malta Premier League.

He said bets running into several thousand euro were being placed on fixed matches, and cited a specific example from a match.

“How can it be that a goalkeeper is asked to let in four goals in return for a bag full of cash, and after he refuses, the reserve goalkeeper plays instead and lets four goals in any way,” Agius, who is the PN’s spokesperson for sports and also running as an MEP candidate, said. “In this country, no one does anything.”

Agius, however, stopped short of naming players, teams or specific matches he believes are tainted.

In its statement, the MFA said it was dismayed by Agius’ claims, which it said damaged the reputation of the local sport.

“While the Malta FA welcomes any constructive discussion on integrity issues in Maltese sport and proposals to strengthen the tools in the fight against corruption, the Association solicits all parties involved to exercise caution not to generate unfounded speculation, tarnishing the image of local football in the process,” it said.

“Such speculation hardly does justice to the efforts of football administrators who dedicate their time and energy, mostly voluntarily, to serve their clubs and communities.”

The MFA also noted that anyone with information about corruption in football has a duty to report that to the police. 

Times of Malta has asked the police if it is investigating claims related to corruption in local football.

The MFA said that it remained “steadfast in its commitment to uphold integrity and fight corruption in football” and that its Anti-Corruption Task Force had played a leading role in the process leading to the Sports Governance and Integrity Bill currently being debated in parliament.

The bill seeks to update laws concerning corruption in sport, to make it harder for cheats and streamline processes to ensure integrity in sport.

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