February 8 – Two former members of the Under-21 Maltese national team have been declared guilty of match-fixing after a Maltese court of appeal overturned the original judgment that had cleared them.
Kyle Cesare, 22, and Emanuel Briffa, 23, were last month hit with a life ban issued by UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Board for acting 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 himself or a third party.”
The pair had been arraigned in Malta after a fellow footballer turned whistleblower had alleged that they were involved in bribery surrounding the Malta-Montenegro European championship qualifier played in March 2016.
They were initially cleared with the courts ruling they had been the victims of peer and social pressure which, coupled with their immaturity, robbed them of free judgment and forced them to act under “an extraneous force which they could not resist”.
Yet this was quashed by the court of appeal, which handed them two-year conditional discharges since they were first-time offenders.
Altogether last month, UEFA has banned six Maltese under-21 players. The other four were suspended for “not immediately and voluntarily informing UEFA” about being approached about fixing. Samir Arab received a two-year ban, Ryan Camenzuli 18 months and both Llywelyn Cremona and Luke Montebell a year each.
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