Valletta coach Giovanni Tedesco said that he doesn’t agree with Floriana president Riccardo Gaucci, who is claiming that his team deserve to be crowned Malta champions on sporting merit, as he is arguing that if this happens it will be on the strength of decisions taken away from the pitch.

This week, Gaucci was interviewed by Italian news agency ANSA and said that he expects Floriana to be crowned champions by the MFA Council as he believes that the team deserve the title as they won it on the pitch.

The Floriana supremo went even further when warning that if his team are not awarded the championship “we will take our case in front of UEFA or FIFA if necessary because there is no doubt that this title we have won it on the pitch.”

Floriana were leading the Premier League standings on 41 points after 20 matches just three ahead of Valletta with Hibernians a further point back in third place.

 
 
 
 
 
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However, Tedesco, in an interview with the Times of Malta, had a completely different opinion of his fellow Italian counterpart.

“I need to make some modifications to Gaucci’s statement because he did not win the title on the pitch because to do that, we had to complete all matches,” Tedesco said.

“If he is awarded the title, he would have received it on the strength of decisions taken outside the pitch which is completely differently.

“I think he could have expressed himself differently by saying that the squad would have deserved the title on the pitch because Vincenzo Potenza and his players have done a great job, but for him to say that he won it on the pitch is not correct.

“Everyone knows that here in Malta the championship is fascinating and interesting because it is usually decided on the final day of the season and there were still six matches left and just three points between us. I understand that the MFA had to give to UEFA the four names of the teams that will be representing Malta in Euro club competitions but the championship can only be decided on the pitch.”

The 2019-20 season was ended this week following a decision by the MFA Executive Committee after they didn’t receive any guarantees from the health authorities that their restrictions would be removed next month.

"Unfortunately, football is not given much importance by the authorities in Malta and it’s a pity."- Giovanni Tedesco

Tedesco said that he was disappointed that the government did not provide any reasons to the football industry in Malta on why the season couldn’t resume next month.

He said that it showed a lack of respect towards over 500 players as well as club administrators and technical staff who are making a living from the game.

Sign of respect

“It would have been nice from the Parliamentary Secretary for Youth and Sport, as a sign of respect to the football movement here, to give the reasons why football cannot continue,” the former Palermo and Perugia midfielder said.

“I think that the fans, first and foremost, deserve respect, and also all the football clubs who make a lot of sacrifices to maintain their club, we are talking of over 500 players who need to work to sustain their families.

“I expected a press conference where Dr Clifton Grima would have simply said that at the moment, there are not the conditions to continue, and I’m saying that in the name of hundreds of players and technical staff.

“Certainly, we deserved it as a sign of respect, but I didn’t hear a single word from the authorities that they were trying to restart. From 50 European countries, 40 have tried to continue including the Faroe Islands who are a smaller than us both in size and population.

“Unfortunately, football is not given much importance by the authorities in Malta and it’s a pity.”

Tedesco arrived in Malta six years ago at the helm of Floriana and he admitted that the football industry here made significant strides forward and said that football has become a daily job rather than a hobby and that is why it deserves far more recognition.

“When I first came football was not seen as a job but today all clubs have players on a full-time basis, even kit managers,” Tedesco said.

“All the overseas players and coaches are here to do a job and not for a holiday. The government has to understand that the football movement in Malta has grown a lot, thanks to the sterling work of some excellent coaches and the passionate following of the fans.

“That is why it hurts to see the authorities giving so little consideration to our sport.”

Valletta future

Tedesco’s contract with Valletta has expired last month, but the Italian reiterated his wish to stay on the bench of the 25-time Malta champions.

“My contract with Valletta expired but I can tell you that in the short period I had the chance to manage Valletta FC I understood the beauty and the greatness of coaching this club.

“They manage to instill in  you the emotions and drive to train the team and win. To go to the stadium and see so many fans behind you is incredible.

“Obviously, I will have to sit down with the club chiefs and discuss if I can continue but I really hope that my adventure with Valletta FC will continue.

“Should I leave Valletta I will return to Italy as I think my cycle in Malta would have come to an end.”

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