Robert Abela and his team at Castille suffered a major blow in their attempt to keep disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat at bay in his bid to eventually take over the presidency of the Malta Football Association (MFA).
Half of the top-tier football clubs endorsed Muscat’s bid for the presidency of the Malta Professional Football Clubs Association yesterday – a position widely seen as a stepping stone to the eventual presidency of the MFA.
Despite Abela and his team of aides, including his father George, himself a former MFA president, getting involved in trying to convince Premier League presidents to drop Muscat, the disgraced former prime minister still managed to garner the necessary support.
The vote was secret, but the support of different clubs has become clear. Hibs, Hamrun, Mosta, Marsaxlokk, Santa Lucija and Floriana ignored Prime Minister Abela’s appeal. The surprise was Balzan FC, which in the end reportedly voted in favour of Muscat.
The only real effect that Abela’s lobbying seems to have had was on Gzira FC president Sharlon Pace who was not present for the vote and directed his representative to abstain, according to sources. He was expected to support Muscat’s bid.
The Shift is informed that only Valletta, Birkirkara and Gudja voted against Muscat, arguing publicly that Muscat was not the ideal candidate for the job due to his baggage.
The clubs of Pieta, Sirens and Zebbug joined Gzira in their abstention.
Muscat still got 50% of the vote.
Sources in the administration of Premier League clubs told The Shift that a number of members of the different football committees are incensed, criticising the presidents who voted for Muscat, due to concerns about the divide that will now dominate Maltese football as a result of Muscat’s appointment.
Most of the presidents who voted for Muscat including Hamrun’s Joseph Portelli, Hibs’ Ranier Bezzina, Santa Lucija’s Robert Micallef who owns Konika, Johan Said of Floriana, Anton Tagliaferro of Balzan, Frank Cachia of Marsaxlokk and George Galea of Mosta are businessmen – most of them have profited from their contacts in the Muscat administration.
Most of them, including Floriana, Hamrun, Masraxlokk and Hibs, also have vested interests in developing their clubs into fully-fledged commercial entities by turning their publicly acquired facilities into homes for the elderly, hostels, retail outlets and residential apartments and offices, with the excuse of generating new income for their clubs.
Most of the premier league clubs are inundated with debts and need public funds to remain afloat.