The former coach of the national team and his assistant yesterday gave the Malta Football Association five days to pay them what they were owed before the “unjust and illicit” termination of their contracts.

No valid reason to terminate contracts

John Buttigieg and his assistant, Carmel Busuttil, both former football stars, filed a judicial protest in court yesterday against their sacking and called on the MFA to pay them half their salary until the end of their contract had it run for the full term to June 2014.

Mr Buttigieg and Mr Busuttil took over in September 2009 after former national coach Dusan Fitzel stepped down for health reasons. However, following a string of defeats and poor shows by Malta, the duo had their contracts terminated in November.

The MFA justified their dismissal on the basis of the team’s performance during the qualifying stages of the Euro 2012 competition.

However, in their judicial protest, Mr Buttigieg and Mr Busuttil complained that the MFA had no valid reason to terminate their contracts and therefore it was obliged to pay them half the salary due to them for the duration of their contracts.

They said the MFA had promised to honour its legal obligations but it was procrastinating and they had not received their payments.

Mr Buttigieg also asked for the match bonus owed to him for the “positive result”, when the national team equalised against Georgia last September. They said the MFA’s actions were “illegal, unfair and discriminatory”, according to industrial law, and were causing them “irreparable harm”.

They therefore gave the association five days to settle its dues and held it responsible for any damages they were suffering. Lawyer Ian Spiteri Bailey signed the judicial protest.

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