Balzan have parted company with Italian coach Riccardo Tumiatti in the wake of Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Tarxien Rainbows.

Tumiatti, who had originally joined Balzan as head of their youth nursery earlier this year, becomes the first coach to lose his job in the BOV Premier League this season.

He took charge of the Balzan FC first team on a caretaker basis following the dismissal of Ivan Zammit in the final months of last season.

The Italian was handed the job permanently last summer as Balzan embarked on a squad overhaul after finishing a disappointing ninth in the Premier League last season.

Balzan yesterday decided to relieve Tumiatti of his duties after Saturday’s defeat, their fourth in a row, left the team fourth from bottom in the championship with four points from six matches.

Jesmond Zerafa is the no.1 candidate to replace Tumiatti.

Balzan have already had talks with Zerafa, who guided Valletta to back-to-back Premier League titles, with the latter expected to make a decision today.

Last season, Zerafa was in charge of Qormi.

Meanwhile, Valletta yesterday appointed Jeffrey Farrugia as their new technical director.

Valletta president Victor Sciriha reached an agreement with Farrugia who was expected to start his work with the Citizens immediately.

Last season, Farrugia occupied the same role of technical director with Mosta FC.