Floriana coach Vincenzo Potenza is baffled by comments made by rival clubs about whether his team deserve to be awarded the BOV Premier League title by the Malta FA Council after this year’s championship was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Italian coach spoke to the Times of Malta in reaction to remarks made by his fellow compatriot Giovanni Tedesco who in response to comments made by Floriana president Riccardo Gaucci to Italian agency ANSA had contended that the Greens didn’t win the championship on the pitch.

The BOV Premier League was brought to a halt last March after the first cases of Covid-19 emerged in Malta and earlier this week, the Malta FA Executive Committee decided to bring the championship to an early end as they did not receive any guarantees from the health authorities that the season could restart next month.

At that juncture, Floriana were leading the standings on 41 points from 20, three clear of Valletta with Hibernians in third place a further point back.

On Monday, the MFA Executive Committee decided that Floriana will represent Malta in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers this summer after a lapse of 26 years.

However, the Greens are now waiting impatiently to be rewarded for their extraordinary campaign by being crowned as Malta champions.

MFA Council members will take this decision during a vote to be held during Monday’s meeting, which will be held via a video conference.

“We are very happy that we will be competing in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers once more,” Potenza told the Times of Malta.

“It was disappointing that the championship could not be completed. To be honest I would have liked to continue the championship because I love to compete on the pitch but we have to respect the decision taken by the health authorities and the government who have done very well in the fight against Covid-19.

“To be fair, I was baffled by the decision to stop football especially when I see beaches and streets full of people every day but I’m not as qualified as the health authorities on the subject so I respect their ruling.”

Potenza said that the fact that the championship was stopped and eventually not completed is not Floriana’s fault and goes even further as saying that it was the Greens who suffered the biggest damage from the end of the Premier League.

“It’s not anyone’s fault that the championship was stopped as it happened due to extraordinary circumstances,” Potenza said.

“But I can’t understand why some continue to say that we don’t deserve to win the title. In the last few seasons, Valletta more than once won the title on the final day of the season but this year we had a three-point advantage and it was only ours to lose.

‘Deserve respect’

“I have always respected everybody and irrespective of the rivalries we had I have always been objective in praising a club like Valletta who are one of the biggest clubs in Malta.

“But we too deserve respect particularly for all the work our president Riccardo Gaucci has done in the last six years.

“With all sincerity, I feel that the team that was damaged mostly by the end of the championship was Floriana as the title was there for the taking for us. We had a three-point advantage and could have still lost one match and we would still be in first place.

“So to see the championship stopped damaged our dream of lifting the league trophy.”

The Floriana coach said that talk that the championship cannot be assigned to Floriana just because six matches were left was absurd, particularly when players and coaches annually vote for the best players and coaches for the MFA Awards when there are still five or six matches left.

“Every year, here in Malta, players and coaches are asked to vote for the top performers of the current league season when there are still five or six matches left,” Potenza said.

“So, to say that a championship cannot be assigned because there are still six matches to play doesn’t make sense because people are forgetting for their own agenda that players and coaches awards are decided with a few matches left.

“Therefore, I think people are speaking more with their heart than with their mind and it’s disappointing.

“Now, we can only wait for the verdicts on Monday and hope for the best.”

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