Jeffrey Farrugia resigns from Sliema Wanderers president amid worsening finance problems

Jeffrey Farrugia has officially notified the MFA that he will resign as SWFC president

Jeffrey Farrugia
Jeffrey Farrugia

The president of Sliema Wanderers FC has informed the Malta Football Association that he is stepping down from his role, hours after the club denied rumours of his resignation following weeks of internal turmoil at the club.

Jeffrey Farrugia, a former Malta international, told MFA president Bjorn Vassallo in an email at 6pm, that he was resigning with immediate effect from SWFC president

Just six hours before the SWFC club claimed on Facebook that Farrugia was “fully committed to his goal of overcoming the current challenges and subsequently bringing the glory days back to our beloved club.”

The resignation of Farrugia could put into question the future of funding for Sliema Wanderers from Tunisian benefactor Fisal Abdullah Alokla, the chairman of the Catco group.

Two weeks ago, SWFC’s honorary vice president Keith Perry stepped down from his role with the club in the midst of a deepening row with players over unpaid salaries. Earlier on team manager Alex Muscat had also resigned.

The Malta Football Players Association has accused Sliema Wanderers of being “gravely” in breach of contractual obligations towards its players and coaching staff, saying full-time players were “literally struggling to feed themselves and their families.”

Perry had stepped down from club president in the summer of 2020 to make way for Jeffrey Farrugia, who arrived at the club with the promise of a lucrative sponsorship deal with the Catco Group.

But despite a signing spree in a bid to boost the club’s fortunes, it transpires that players have not been paid their salaries for the past three months despite the arrival of Catco and the promise of a multi-million euro investment over the next five years.

Players were told that Catco was finding it difficult to open bank accounts in Malta and was trying to open an account in an overseas jurisdiction attested to Sliema Wanderers. Additionally, a €500,000 donation pledged to the Dar tal-Providenza on 1 January by the Catco Group appears to have been the straw that broke the camel’s back when the surprise announcement on live TV was made by former Opposition leader Adrian Delia.

Currently Sliema already faces a FIFA and MFA transfer ban due to outstanding balances for cases they lost against 3 players, all of which were represented by MFPA. “Without salaries, some full-time players are literally struggling to feed themselves and their families. It is completely irresponsible and unacceptable that Clubs are allowed to offer new contracts and commence a season in the Maltese Premier league, whilst the dues from previous seasons have as yet not been paid,” the players’ union MFPA said.

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