Maltese match-fixers lose their appeal as UEFA maintains zero tolerance line

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April 13 – Four Maltese under-21 players banned over match-fixing offences in December have had their appeals rejected by UEFA’s appeals body.

The appeals were filed by Samir Arab, Ryan Camenzuli, Llywelyn Cremona and Luke Montebello. Arab had been handed down a two-year ban, Camenzuli 18 months and Cremona and Montebello a year. Two other players – Emanuel Briffa and Kyle Cesare – were handed lifelong bans with their appeals still pending.

The investigation related to two UEFA European Under-21 Championship matches played by Malta against Montenegro on 23 March 2016 and the Czech Republic six days later.

Arab, Camenzuli, Cremona and Montebello were 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.”

Cesare and Briffa received their life bans 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 players were initially cleared in domestic courts which ruled 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 subsequently quashed.

Back in January, Maltese FA general secretary Angelo Chetcuti described the sanctions as “a hammer blow for the image of Maltese football.”

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