Nadur demoted following bribery probe

Nadur Youngsters, former official sanctioned by MFA for bribing rival team player

Gozitan football club Nadur Youngsters has been demoted to the second division after its former secretary, Anthony Sam Portelli, was found guilty of bribing a player last February.

The Malta Football Association sanctioned the 11-time Gozitan champions after Portelli was found guilty of offering “an amount of consideration” to Peter Buttigieg – who plays for the 2014-15 Gozo first division champions Xewkija Tigers FC – in order to influence or change the result of the game between the two sides on 22 March. 

The match eventually ended in a 3-1 victory for Xewkija and had Portelli’s plan not been uncovered before the match was played it could have gifted the title to Nadur because Xewkija won the league by a single-point.

The MFA’s Regulations on Bribery and Betting regarding football matches stipulate that if an official is found guilty of corruption, the club the official represents must also be sanctioned.

Nadur Youngsters FC were charged with having acted in breach of the MFA’s regulations and were demoted from Gozo’s top division and fined €4,000.

“The evidence presented and Anthony Sam Portelli’s admission before the board leaves no doubt that Portelli is guilty,” the association’s board of investigations into bribery in football said. 

Portelli, who in 2014 was awarded the Premju Gieh in-Nadur by then mayor Charles Said, was also suspended for life and cannot have any role or function in the Gozo or Malta Football Association.

On 8 February, the former Nadur Youngsters secretary who captained the side before retiring the previous season, was fined and handed a suspended jail term after admitting to attempting to bribe two football players. 

Portelli was arraigned together with George Sultana from Gharb, and the two men were charged with attempting to bribe two Xewkija Tigers players before the top-of-the-table clash against Nadur Youngsters. 

Reportedly, the two men agreed to meet the players in Gozo, only for the police to turn up instead. The accused were then arrested and immediately arraigned. 

Magistrate Vella Cuschieri had handed the men a four month jail term suspended for two years and also fined them €1,165. 

Following the court proceedings, Nadur Youngsters distanced itself from the accused, and announced that Portelli was sacked from his position as the club’s secretary. 

On Facebook, long-serving Nadur Youngsters president Karistu Camilleri condemned the action and insisted that the club had nothing to do with the attempted bribe. 

Reconsider ODZ schools, says Front

The Front Harsien ODZ has called on the Maltese archdiocese to abandon its MEPA applications to build two church schools in land lying in outside development zones in Ghaxaq.

“While we welcome the fact that the Church will be committing itself to a land protection policy as regards any future development on its part, this project would obliterate more than 77,000 square metres of agricultural land, including rubble walls and mature trees,” FHO said in a statement.

“There is still time to save this land, and the Church has an opportunity to give a powerful example to the rest of society, strengthening the environmental conscience of the nation on environmental and ethical and moral grounds.” 

The Front added that the Church should instead construct schools within development zones or negotiate with the government to occupy a presently empty public school. 

“We shall remain vigilant of and seek to protect all ODZ indiscriminately,” the Front said, adding that they will soon announce the replies they have received from MPs and party leaders regarding ODZ and next week’s protest on the proposed Zonqor university development.