Updated 4.45pm

Ħamrun Spartans fans filmed breaching COVID-19 regulations on Saturday evening are to face police action. 

A police spokesperson said they will be fined for breaching mask-wearing and social distancing measures, and for smoking indoors. 

Video which circulated on social media late on Saturday showed Spartans fans clustered together inside a bar, singing and celebrating around club president and Gozitan property magnate Joseph Portelli, who can be seen lighting a cigarette indoors and not wearing a mask. 

Portelli on Sunday acknowledged that he had broken the law, saying that the celebration was spontaneous and that people had surrounded him without warning when he entered the establishment. 

On Monday, the police said they had investigated the video and spoken to several people, including the bar owner. 

Bar slapped with enforcement notice

They found that the Ħamrun establishment holds a snack bar license and is permitted to open in accordance with current pandemic restrictions. Snack bars are currently forbidden from selling alcoholic beverages and must close between 11pm and 5am. 

The police said that they had informed the Malta Tourism Authority about the breach, with the authority subsequently issuing an enforcement notice against the bar.

In the meantime, the police will take "action against various people in line with the law".

The police added that district officers, together with members of the Rapid Intervention Unit had patrolled Ħamrun roads several times throughout the week, to ensure people did not gather in numbers to celebrate.

There were no such celebrations on the streets, while bars were closed, in conformity with the law, it said in the statement.

It is the second time in weeks that Ħamrun Spartans fans have come under scrutiny for ignoring COVID-19 rules. Just last month, a group of club supporters were filmed celebrating in the street following a win over rivals Valletta FC. 

On that occasion, police said they had acted to disperse the crowd, with many having remained inside their vehicles. 

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.