European football’s governing body, Uefa, has banned six Maltese players, including two for life, for match-fixing offences committed whilst competing for the country’s under-21 team.
The Uefa Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body has issued the sanctions following a probe relating to two qualification matches for the 2017 European Under-21 Championship – meetings against Montenegro on March 23, 2016 and the Czech Republic on March 29, 2016.
Malta ultimately finished fourth in their seven-team qualification group, failing to qualify for the finals in Poland. The Czech Republic was the only qualifier from Group 1 after topping the table, while Montenegro finished third.
Emanuel Briffa and Kyle Cesare have been handed lifelong bans from all football-related activity for having acted in a manner that is likely to exert an unlawful or undue influence on the course and/or result of a match or competition with a view to gaining an advantage for themselves or a third party.
Samir Arab (two years), Ryan Camenzuli (18 months), Llywelyn Cremona (one year) and Luke Montebello (one year) have also been banned for not immediately and voluntarily informing Uefa if approached in connection with activities aimed at influencing in an unlawful or undue manner the course and/or result of a match or competition.
Uefa closed the case against a seventh player, Matthew Cremona, allowing him to return to action. In a statement the governing body said: “Uefa takes this opportunity to reiterate its commitment to rid football of the scourge of match-fixing – described by Uefa president Aleksander Čeferin as ‘a disease that attacks football’s very core’.”