Government to discuss return of supporters to stadia following meeting with South End Core

South End Core officials tell Junior Minister for Sports Clifton Grima they feel hard done-by as spectators are still not allowed into stadia and grounds 

South End Core officials in a meeting with Parliamentary Secretary for Sports Clifton Grima
South End Core officials in a meeting with Parliamentary Secretary for Sports Clifton Grima

The Junior Minister for Sports Clifton Grima will be forwarding proposals to health authorities over a return of supporters to the national stadium following a meeting with the South End Core.

Founded in 2007, the South End Core is a group of dedicated fans of Malta’s national football and rugby teams.

South End Core officials had written to the Prime Minister Robert Abela, Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne, Superintendent of Public Health Prof. Charmaine Gauci and parliamentary secretary for sport, Clifton Grima, as well as the Malta Football Association, asking why indoor gatherings and events were being permitted elsewhere, but not sporting events.

On Monday, the supporters’ group presented a document outlining how supporters should return to stadia while abiding with strict mitigation measures.

The group suggested the World Cup qualifying game between Malta and Russia on 24 March be used as a pilot test on how the return of supporters should be carried out.

Should the match be a success in terms of mitigation measures, the return of supporters in local leagues is carried out on 9 April. 

Fan’s admittance to football matches should be capped at a percentage of the stadium’s original capacity.

The National Stadium in Ta’ Qali for example could see 1,600 spectators being allowed in, with only 10% of its original capacity.

The Centenary Stadium, which is also located in Ta’ Qali, could see the admittance of 400 spectators, or 13.3% of its original 3,000 seating capacity.

Ticket sales will only be carried out online, with details of the purchaser being given for easier contact tracing. No tickets would be sold at the stadium.

Each ticket would be assigned a seating number and allocation, with spectators keeping to the seat allocated to them.

No sale of alcohol or smoking would be allowed.

Speaking to MaltaToday, South End Core head Dillon Mercieca said that while the group appreciates speaking to the junior minister, it is demanding a sit-down meeting with health officials Chris Fearne and Charmaine Gauci.

“We told Clifton Grima that football supporters are getting the short-end of the stick,” he said.

The junior minister has been open to the idea of supporters’ return to stadia, saying he has been thinking about the possibility since last October.

SEC asked how restaurants are allowed a maximum of 6 persons per table, when many of them are from mixed households, and how indoor events, such as those held at the Manoel Theatre were safer than in an open-air stadium at 10% occupancy.

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