MFPA concerned about MFA provisions relating to player payments

7th February 2013

The MFPA has been following the saga of the Floriana FC players unroll. By no means this is a one-off case and unfortunately a number of players from other clubs, both Maltese and non-Maltese, of recent years have suffered the same prejudice and unfairness as these players.

No less than 8 Floriana FC players filed complaints with the Players, Coaches, Player's Agents, and Member Clubs Compliants Board (PCCB) to request payment of wages owed to them. In a sitting on the 17th December 2012 a decision was handed down in their favour, after Floriana FC admitted to all the claims. Wages had been due since the beginning of the season. Payment was promised by mid-January 2013 in respect of the Maltese players, whilst the foreign players, who were also granted their release on the basis that they are professionals and depend on the income for their livelihood and that of their families, insisted to be paid earlier.

At the time Floriana FC were subjected to a prohibition from transferring any players in view of debts owed to thirds.

The Maltese players of Floriana FC were paid a small part of the amounts owed by mid-January, which they accepted since it was better than nothing. Some of the non-Maltese players were paid, whilst others not.

At some point in time the prohibition on Floriana FC was lifted and the Club became entitled to transfer players. Due to the present rules of the MFA the players were informed that should they wish to insist on their claim they could do so in the next Council meeting which took place on the 4th February 2013, once the transfer window was closed. In the said meeting of the 4th February 2013 a prohibition was imposed on Floriana FC.

The net result was that the players were not paid what was due, whilst the Club was allowed to make a new intake of players, and consequently increase its debt.

It must also be said that two other players playing for Hamrun and Marsaxlokk suffered the same faith, and both clubs suffered a prohibition in the meeting of the 4th February 2013.

Its unacceptable that such practices are ongoing. The MFPA calls on the MFA to immediately amend its rules to deter, if not disallow, such practices in future. Further, its unacceptable that Floriana FC make headlines on all local newspapers last week practically declaring that business is as usual, and confirming new signings, when staggering amounts are due in wages to players. Worse still, should these same players refuse to continue with their contracts and not attend training or matches they may be accused of breach of contract, or even identified as defectors, or accused that they only look after their personal interests.

Its time that the Maltese football enthusiast is made aware of such practices and supports our cause to have them stopped!

This practice is counterproductive even for the clubs, in that clubs in similar circumstances as above-mentioned, already in dire situations, are being condoned their wrongdoings, and moreover allowed to enter into further debt, without addressing the existing debt. Clearly such practices are in contravention of the the spirit of the fair play rules recently introduced, and moreover a case of mismanagement on the club's side!

The MFA officials are aware of these questionable procedures. In fairness they have sought to remedy them in part already last year. The suggestion was made to at least clarify and shorten the process by which a decision of the PCCB ordering a Club to pay following a complaint, which is not honoured by the Club, results in an immediate prohibition on the Club. However, such a proposal was rejected by the Council and never even made to the General Meeting of the MFA. Practical solutions to have meetings of the relative organs organized at different dates have also fallen on deaf ears.

The MFPA hopes that this case will help all concerned address, and moreover redress, this situation as its not acceptable that players are not paid their dues for months even after decisions by the competent authorities are made in their favour.

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