Demoted Senglea protests MFA decision to retain Vittoriosa in Challenge League

Senglea appeals MFA decision favouring Vittoriosa to stay in Challenge League after Pembroke forgoes promotion to Premier

Senglea Athletic president Neil Carter
Senglea Athletic president Neil Carter

Football team Senglea Athletic are contesting an MFA decision to allow Vittoriosa Stars FC to compete in the first divisino Challenger League, after Pembroke Athleta forgoed promotion to the Premier and demoted itself to the National Amateur League.

Pembroke’s application for the National Amateur League licence, despite their Premier league promotion – citing prohibitive costs to maintain the team’s performance in Malta’s top-flight football league – paved the way for the promotion of Santa Lucija FC instead.

But the MFA also allowed Vittoriosa Stars FC to stay in the Challenge League, stopping its demotion to the National Amateur League.

While the MFA insists its decision was in line with applicable regulations, confirmed by a decision of the executive board on 15 June, Senglea is challenging the move.

Senglea was relegated from the Challenge League after it placed third from last in the league’s Section B with 15 points. Vittoriosa FC also placed third from last in Section A of the league, with 16 points.

“It is indisputable that the regulations stipulate that whenever more than one club is in the same spot, in this case third from bottom, none of the clubs are relegated and therefore Senglea deserves to play in the Challenge League along with Vittoriosa for the 2022/2023 season,” Senglea Athletic said.

In a statement, the football team said it had made its position clear with the MFA executive committee that it would be appealing its decision, as early as 17 June.

But the team is protesting the MFA’s statement declaring Vittoriosa will stay in the Challenge League when the matter is still under appeal.

Senglea said that since the drawing of the fixtures was now set for the 18 July, the league composition could be declared final and settled, despite their pending appeal. “On 7 July we were informed that the board of appeal would be meeting on 12 July, almost a month from the day we drew attention to the MFA that Senglea and Vittoriosa reserve the same rights.”

Senglea said that it would consider taking further steps if it feels that “misinterpreted” rules and the delayed decision had damaged the club.