Malta FA president Bjorn Vassallo said that the new reforms approved by the governing body’s Council on Monday are set to break all barriers against the free movement of players and is likely to liberalise the Maltese transfer market.
On Monday, MFA Council members gave the green light to abolish the parameter fees that clubs were in the past forced to pay to sign out-of-contract players in a major breakthrough in Maltese football regulation.
Speaking during a news conference organised by the Malta FA to shed more light on the approved reforms on Players Status and Transfers, Vassallo said that after long years of discussion, Maltese football has finally aligned itself with other European countries and this development will surely be of great benefit for both the players and clubs.
“For many years Maltese football had a regulation system that didn’t help the development of players,” Vassallo said.
“The parameters fees that clubs were forced to pay for out-of-contract players blocked the Maltese market and hindered the development of many young players.
“But we have finally opened up our transfer system and I’m so pleased that we have achieved that after a mature discussion with the clubs, who are the one most effected, and the Malta Football Players Association.
“This reform was necessary as the MFA was facing the prospect of being sanctioned by FIFA.
“Added to that, it formed part of my presidential programme which looked at implementing important reforms in Maltese football and in the next few years I am committed to continue to modernise even further the Beautiful Game here.”
The Malta FA president said that there are other reforms planned which includes among others the licensing system for our clubs.
“We are looking at a drastic transformation that will bring together a better sustainability for our clubs,” the MFA president said.
“Next year we are planning a reform on the licensing system for our domestic competitions which will bring a classification system of our clubs. Professional clubs playing in the
Premier League, and non-professional clubs playing in the Amateur League while the remaining teams will have a non-league status that includes also the grass-roots sector.”
On his part, Dr Angelo Chetcuti, the Malta FA general secretary, highlighted some of the important changes that were implemented on Monday.
The amendments looked into various aspects to ensure that everyone is safeguarded.
“One major amendment is to ensure that both parties respect their contract,” Dr Chetcuti said.
“In the past, when the contract of a player expired the player had to revert to the Complaints Board. If he played with the same club the following season, his previous contract was renewed automatically. With these reforms this will no longer be the case.
“Added to that, if in case of a full-time professional player, a club who fails to pay his wages for two months, the player can now give the club a 15-day default notice and if he is still not paid, his contract is terminated.
“As regards semi-professional players, the deadline for clubs is extended to four months.”
Dr Chetcuti also said that the new regulations have included a new compensation mechanism in cases of breach of contract by a player that will be calculated according to the remaining part of the contract, the transfer fee incurred and the training compensation due.
The MFA general secretary also said that players who enter the final six months of their contract are free to conclude another contract with another club provided that his employer is informed.
As regards amateur players, nursery compensation, previously payable if the player moved clubs, has been removed.
“When a player is 18 years-old he has a two-year obligatory period to stay with his club but after that he is free to move,” Dr Chetcuti said.
“Another important aspect that came out on Monday’s Council is that previously, amateur players who were registered with Division Three clubs could play at the same time in non-league championship. This is no longer the case.”
There has also been changes to the training compensation fees. Dr Chetcuti said that if an amateur player of a Challenge League club (previously known as Division One) joins a Premier League club, the latter needs to pay €3,000.
On the other hand, if an amateur player of a National Amateur League (previously known as Division Two and Three) signs as a professional for a Premier League club after four seasons with the National Amateur League club, then the top-flight club will have to pay €9,000.
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