[WATCH] Top football clubs coy on Joseph Muscat being the next president of their association

Former prime minister Joseph Muscat is being touted to head the Malta Professional Football Clubs Association after his name was floated by several clubs but negotiations are still going on

Ħamrun Spartans president Joseph Portelli
Ħamrun Spartans president Joseph Portelli

The presidents of Hamrun, Floriana and Hibernians football clubs have refused to comment on reports suggesting former prime minister Joseph Muscat will be next president of their association.

The three club presidents also said the issue is currently being discussed internally, refusing to divulge their respective clubs' position on Muscat heading the Malta Professional Football Clubs Association.

The association, formed last year, represents premier league clubs and is autonomous from the Malta Football Association. It comprises 14 clubs from Malta's top-tier football league.

Members met on Tuesday afternoon to discuss Muscat's prospective appointment to head the association after Santa Lucija FC president Robert Micallef stepped down from the post recently. Micallef is acting as interim president.

Around two-thirds of the clubs are believed to be in favour of Muscat's appointment, while the rest voiced concern over his political baggage and controversial past. One of the dissenting clubs was Valletta that argued other people suited for the job should be approached.

Proponents of Muscat argued that he would help elevate the MPFCA’s profile to the next level thanks to his contacts, negotiation skills and good relations with the MFA.

Ħamrun Spartans president Joseph Portelli told MaltaToday on Friday that Muscat’s appointment will be discussed among the association members in another meeting.

“There is still a lot to discuss. We will be discussing it internally,” he said. “This is not one club. We are deciding on how we can move forward collectively,” Portelli said as he reminisced on the "lovely work" journalists have.

Floriana president Johann Said stated the club’s position was made clear within the association but insisted his club committee will be discussing the various names that will be proposed.

“There will be personalities which will be proposed, among them Joseph Muscat,” he said, adding that another name that was floated was that of former Labour MP Jean Claude Micallef. Said noted that some clubs would be forwarding other names.

Asked whether Muscat has Floriana’s backing, the club president said they will be making their position known after a committee meeting. “I am only a club president, I don’t know who I will be voting for now.”

Hibs president Ranier Bezzina did not divulge the club’s position on the issue, stating that any questions should be directed towards the current MPFCA president. “We don’t have any comment to make,” he said.

The three presidents were approached for comment after signing an agreement with the Malta Tourism Authority for a sponsorship deal, covering their upcoming European cup participation.

Hibs will be playing in the preliminary rounds of the Champions League, while Hamrun, Floriana and Gżira will be playing in the preliminary rounds of the Conference League.