Updated at 12:55pm with MPFCA statement and Micallef's second Facebook post.
Former Labour MP Jean Claude Micallef is vying to head a body representing top-flight football clubs after his old boss former prime minister Joseph Muscat also announced a bid.
Announcing the move on Facebook, Micallef appeared to take a swipe at Muscat, saying he could not let the reputation of Malta’s football clubs be sullied.
“I took this step today because I can never allow the reputation of Maltese clubs to be tarnished,” he wrote on Facebook.
“This association is set up for individuals to serve it and improve it and not any other way. I have heard you and reacted with respect towards the footballing family that I am proud to form part of,” Micallef added.
Times of Malta first reported on Tuesday that the former prime minister was vying to take over the running of the Malta Professional Football Clubs Association, a body made up of the presidents of Malta’s top-flight football clubs.
Clubs then decided to formally approach Muscat to be the next chairman of the MPFCA, however, sources said at least two clubs of the 12 members had reserved the right to put forward other names to be approached for the position.
It is understood that Valletta and Gudja are exploring the possibility of having alternative candidates.
In a statement on Saturday afternoon, the MPFCA clarified that Micallef had sent the association an email expressing his interest in the position of chief executive.
The position being contested by Muscat, however, is that of chairman.
The association said that at present it is not looking for a CEO.
In a subsequent post on Facebook, Micallef denied that he was disrespected Muscat.
Sources said the possibility of Muscat taking over the association has not gone down well with some member clubs who feel he brings “political baggage” and poses a “reputation risk”.
If appointed to the MPFCA, it would be Muscat’s first public appointment since stepping down from office amid a political crisis linked to the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Muscat risks Castille red card
Meanwhile, political sources have suggested that Muscat does not have the backing of his successor Robert Abela for the footballing position.
The Abelas have a longstanding connection to the football community, with Robert's father George having been appointed honorary president of the Malta Football Association in 2014.
Abela Snr had acted as chairperson for the football association between 1982 and 1992.
A former PL deputy leader, George had unsuccessfully run against Muscat for leadership of the PL.
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