12th March 2015
The Malta Football Players Association (MFPA) received various complaints from local top players and national team players regarding the condition of the football pitches and the quality of the balls being used.
After top local players aired their views on the quality of the balls and the Ta’ Qali national stadium surface on social media, many players expressed their disappointment too.
This situation needs to be addressed so that the quality of the game is improved.
The major and most common complaints are that the balls being used for the Premier League matches are of an inferior quality compared to the balls used during international matches. Also very often the balls are over or under inflated. Very rarely Premier League matches are played with new balls, something that is a common practice in most leagues all over the world. In fact it seems that here in Malta the same balls are being used both on natural grass and also on synthetic pitches.
Another issue that players complained about is the quality of the national stadium field surface. The quality of the surface leaves much to be desired. Even if it should be taken into consideration the fact that the pitch is definitely over used and less games should be played, the pitch is always dry on match days. When the pitch is dry it affects the speed and tempo of the game. Ideally the pitch should be watered before the game, just enough to get it wet and damp under the surface. This will help the ball to glide smoothly over the surface.
Another issue is that the turf should be shorter. There are various reasons why the turf is kept tall such as that tall grass reduces water needs, reduces fertilizer needs and since tall grass grows slower it will need less frequent cutting. However it affects badly the movement of the ball and also the running and dribbling techniques of the players and most of all it makes the game slower.
The turf should be kept shorter and mowed to an ideal height before each match day. This is common practice prior to National team home matches, but it never happens prior to Premier League games.
The MFPA urges the authorities to listen to the players complaints and address this issue to improve the quality of the game.
Credit images to Mr. Donald Caruana