Safety and well-being of players during official matches is of no consequence for MFA

25th September 2016

It looks like for the MFA and a number of clubs, the safety and well-being of players during official matches is of no consequence. One could only imagine how much worse the situation is during training sessions.

After 2 shocking medical incidents, which could have very easily had tragic consequences during last season’s official matches, it has recently become evident that absolutely nothing has changed for the better this year. For those of you who do not know, we currently have a worrying situation whereby doctors are not available during football matches. In fact, the situation is so bad that last season on the weekend of the 5th and 6th March, from 52 clubs in action, only 3 had a doctor on the bench.

Last Thursday, during the Premier League match between Balzan and Hibernians, Bjorn Kristensen suffered a head injury resulting in a nasty gash on his forehead. This could have been a life threatening injury. There was no doctor present on the day, not on the Hibernians bench and neither on the Balzan bench. In the end Bjorn Kristensen had to be taken to hospital for treatment since immediate medical attention could not be provided.

Another incident happened this weekend during the match between Naxxar and Marsa. A player had to wait for 25 minutes to be taken to the hospital as there was no ambulance on site.

Similar to its reaction following the 2 medical incidents of last year, MFA’s reaction to all of this was to issue two statements reminding the clubs that it is their responsibility to have a medical doctor on the bench.

MFPA urgently calls out to MFA to do more than issue reminders in its capacity as regulator. Medical incidents during a football match could have serious consequence on the individual’s career and even life. The immediate action of medical practitioners is necessary on site. Players should not be risking their lives while on duty for the clubs.

The MFPA proposes that the MFA should introduce heavy fines on clubs that do not have the proper medical staff on the bench. Should MFA fail again to act in the best interest of players MFPA will not stop working in order to ensure the basic right of safety for players is respected. The Malta Football Referees Association is also supporting MFPA on this issue.

The MFPA wishes both players a speedy recovery.

Photo Credits: TVM and Jospeh Galea