Developer Joseph Portelli now wants to play for Hamrun Spartans, steps down as president

Hamrun Spartans president Joseph Portelli steps down to register as a player • MFA may opt not to accept resignation if his intention is to be registered as a player

Joseph Portelli has handed in his resignation as president of Ħamrun Spartans and wants to play for them instead
Joseph Portelli has handed in his resignation as president of Ħamrun Spartans and wants to play for them instead

Updated at 2:32pm with MFA reaction

Developer Joseph Portelli, 43, has stepped down as president of Hamrun Spartans to be able to register as a player with the same club, MaltaToday can confirm.

The move has nothing to do with Portelli’s football prowess but more to do with his vainglory in what appears to be a repeat of what he did last year at Nadur Youngster.

In April last year, Portelli registered as a player with his hometown Nadur Youngsters for their last game of the season against Kerċem Ajax. Portelli, with the shirt numbered '99', was brought on as a substitute towards the end of the game and scored from the penalty spot to enable his team to achieve a 1-1 draw.

Nadur were crowned Gozitan champions and as expected, Portelli was the toast of town.

Sports programme Replay that first broke the story, has reported that Portelli's resignation has already been handed over to the Malta Football Association.

Portelli, who commands a vast property portfolio, became president at Hamrun Spartans in March 2021. He has invested heavily in the club, which won the league in the 2020/2021 season. The club also had a very successful run in European football last summer, becoming the first Maltese team to reach the play-off round of the Conference League, which is one step away from the group stages.

Hamrun Spartans are currently leading the BOV Premier League with nine points over second place Gzira and on course to win their second league title under Portelli’s presidency.

They have won their last five league matches and qualified for the second round of the FA Trophy with a win over Gozitan team Għajnsielem.

Sources have told MaltaToday Portelli took the decision to step down in time for the club to submit his registration before the football transfer window closes at the end of January.

The Malta Football Association rules prevent a football club president from registering as a player.

However, the same sources said Portelli’s registration as a player is likely to ruffle feathers within the MFA since it could put the game into disrepute.

MFA may opt to not accept Portelli resignation

Replying to questions by this newspaper, the Malta Football Association has confirmed it has received the resignation “mindful that this may be related to a possible request from the club to register the same person as a player.”

A spokesperson said the association may elect not to accept his resignation.

“In that case, the Association may elect not to accept such resignation. Rather, it would be referred to the competent bodies in compliance with its Reputational Risk Management Policy – a document that is public and which is endorsed by its Executive Board,” the spokesperson said.