5th January 2015
The Maltese Football Players Association (MFPA) and its members urge the country's football authorities to abolish the Maltese transfer system. On Malta, clubs still need to pay a transfer fee to sign an out of contract player.
The current transfer system was introduced in the 1960s. Its rules do not allow Maltese players to change clubs at the end of their contract, except against a fee (the so-called parameters system). The maximum fee is 50,000 euros. The rules only apply to Maltese players. Foreign footballers can be signed without a fee.
The MFPA states: "It is time that Maltese players too have the right to become free agents. The parameters system or imposed transfer fee at the end of a contract is both illegal and immoral."
The transfer system limits opportunities for Maltese players. Due to the fee, Maltese clubs prefer signing foreign free agent players who can be signed without a fee.
MFPA: "Maltese clubs are not prepared to invest in Maltese players. Instead they seek the services of foreign players who can join Maltese clubs as free agents."
Recently, media reported that the Maltese Premier League Standing Committee has proposed a change to next season's competition rules, that will increase the number of foreign players on the pitch to eight, while another three can be named to the substitutes bench. Some clubs would even prefer to abolish any limit to foreign players.
During a meeting organised by the MFPA, the Maltese Premier League and First Division players were against the proposed rule change, especially considering the difficult position they are in due to the parameters system.
The MFPA says it does not understand the need for the increase of foreign players or the very rationale behind it. "Maltese clubs only have limited resources. The total cost (salary, housing) for each non-Maltese player is much higher than what an average Maltese player receives."
"What is the strategy of these clubs looking to increase their fixed costs? Shouldn't they be working to achieve the opposite?"
"The proposed change will further limit the possibility for youth players to compete at our top level. As a consequence this will decrease the already small pool of players that could be selected for the Maltese national team. The national teams will be negatively affected by the rule change."
The MFPA supports the employment of non-Maltese professionals but calls for a sustainable structure, which takes into account the particular needs of Maltese football. Clubs should spend their money on the improvement of their infrastructure and youth academies. "We should be looking at ways and means to reach a professional level in football club management, invest in local talent and then attract good quality foreign players."