Federbet are taking the Malta FA and Franz Tabone, its integrity officer, to court over allegations contained in a statement issued by the Maltese governing body of football last Friday, the Belgium-based betting-monitoring company said yesterday.

In its statement, the MFA described claims that match-fixing is widespread in Maltese football, made last June by Federbet and Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella at the European Parliament, as baseless and motivated by the company’s commercial interests.

The MFA released its statement after Tabone had discussed the allegations with MEP Tarabella and Francesco Baranca, the secretary general of Federbet, in Brussels last Wednesday.

The meeting was organised by Maltese MEP Therese Comodini Cachia.

“The meeting had been organised by MEP Comodini Cachia to address the problem of the manipulation of the results in the Maltese football leagues and not to evaluate the statements made by Federbet or the MEP Tarabella on the legality of the football competitions in Malta,” Federbet said in their statement.

“During the meeting Mr Tabone presented a dossier related to press articles about Federbet, some of which were withdrawn because they were not true. Mr Tabone defended himself regarding those articles when we were speaking on the ineffectiveness of the MFA in solving the problem of match-fixing.

“The data presented by Federbet about the level of corruption in the Maltese league are based on a Federbet report presented to the EU Parliament in June 2015.

“They are the result of a system developed by Federbet that processes flows of abnormal betting; it is a model used by investigators in Italy and Spain and it gives important results for winning the match-fixing problem (Federbet reports were at the basis of investigations of Cremona, Catanzaro and Catania and for the ongoing investigations in Spain).

“Moreover, that international bookmakers do not accept bets on most Maltese championship matches is strong evidence for the unreliability of football in Malta.”

Federbet added that they “have freely reported on several suspicious games to the Maltese Federation and Mr Tabone.

“Neither the Federation nor Mr Tabone, both aware of the facts, took concrete action and they never even responded to the Federbet reports.

“It is surprising to read now that the complaints prepared by Federbet are related to “commercial” interests”.

Contacted by Times of Malta yesterday, Bjorn Vassallo, the Malta FA general secretary, said the association “will not refrain from confronting anyone who makes unfounded allegations about Maltese football”.