Ħamrun Spartans president Joseph Portelli on Thursday refused to confirm whether he is backing Joseph Muscat’s bid to head a football body representing clubs. 

Portelli, a construction magnate, told journalists after a press conference that discussions on the former prime minister’s potential appointment are still ongoing.

“What a fun job you have, running after people,” Portelli quipped after refusing to say if he is backing Muscat.

Joseph Portelli refused to say if he is supporting Joseph Muscat's bid. Video: Chris Sant Fournier.

Portelli said there is “still a lot left to discuss”, and a decision needs to be taken by all the premier league clubs.

The footballing body, known as the Malta Professional Football Clubs Association, was set up last year. 

The ultimate aim of the association is to hive off responsibility for running the premier league - currently managed by the Malta Football Association. 

It is made up of the presidents of Malta’s 14 premier league clubs and is meant to safeguard their interests.  It is autonomous from the Malta Football Association. 

At least two of the members are understood to have 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.  

Football, not politics

Floriana president Johann Said told journalists that a final vote on the matter will be taken Friday week.

He said some other clubs had proposed other alternatives to Muscat.

Questioned if the appointment is appropriate given Muscat’s baggage, Said insisted he is not one to talk politics.

“I talk football, I am a club president”.

He, however, said that Muscat should have the right to contest for the post, should he wish.

Muscat resigned in disgrace as prime minister in January 2020, soon after the arrest of Tumas magnate Yorgen Fenech in connection with Daphne Caruana Galizia. 

A public inquiry into the murder last year concluded that the state had failed to protect the assassinated journalist. 

The inquiry found that Muscat had fostered a culture of impunity "generated by the highest echelons at the heart of Castille". 

In January, police searched Muscat's Burmarrad home in connection with a corruption probe into the Vitals hospitals scandal

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