Darmanin Demajo to sue MFA president Mifsud
It seems that the personal feud between Malta FA president Joe Mifsud and Norman Darmanin Demajo knows no bounds as yesterday the organisation's former treasurer told reporters that he had accepted Dr Mifsud's challenge and will open libel proceedings in court over allegations made on national television last week.
Dr Mifsud and Darmanin Demajo, an accountant by profession, were considered as two of the biggest allies in the MFA fold way back in the late 1990s but the relationship between the duo broke down following a disagreement on the handling of TV rights contracts involving national team matches.
In Tuesday's Dissett on TVM, Dr Mifsud reiterated his stance on Darmanin Demajo who was branded a liar and accused of abusing his powers when in office. It was here that Dr Mifsud challenged his opponent in next July's election for MFA presidency to sue him in court if he thinks it was necessary to clear himself from the accusations.
This was the latest episode in a ten-year saga of bitter feuds and disputes between the duo that on occasions filtered beyond the confines of the MFA headquarters in Ta' Qali and into the law courts.
In fact, at present the court is hearing a libel case filed by Dr Mifsud in December 2008 following comments made by Darmanin Demajo in other sections of the local press.
Last February, Dr Mifsud hardened his position vis-a-vis Darmanin Demajo when the MFA president himself used his casting vote to approve a counter-motion barring Darmanin Demajo from representing his club, St Andrew's, in the MFA council as a delegate.
"The accusations made by Dr Mifsud on Tuesday were unacceptable," Darmanin Demajo said.
"Also, I wasn't in a position to defend myself from the accusations so I have no other way but to sue him in court.
"I want to make this clear... there's nothing personal against Dr Mifsud but in my position as a MFA treasurer I knew things were not being done according to the rules so I wanted to clarify all this.
"Unfortunately, my queries were never answered. We were close friends but I never imagined all this would end up in court ten years later."
Darmanin Demajo, 58, will again contest Dr Mifsud, 59, for the hot seat at the MFA executive in summer. He fell just short of winning the election in 2007 when Dr Mifsud won a close vote 52-49.
The 2007 election was not the end of the story though.
Darmanin Demajo said he was again accused of causing a lot of harm to the association and it was then that he decided to reveal more details on the issue that had originally sparked the feud between the two - Bayern Munich's visit in January 2001 ahead of a crucial vote to decide the 2006 World Cup hosts.
"In my opinion, the process of contract signing was not done according to the MFA statute," Darmanin Demajo said.
"Also, foreign journalists had investigated the case thoroughly and published articles casting serious doubts on the legality of the agreement.
"Dr Mifsud signed the contract on his own. It was not clear what the MFA was entitled to because, according to reports in the foreign media, the payment the MFA got was $50,000 less than the contract showed.
"I ask, why were these allegations never challenged in court?"
Darmanin Demajo now wants to focus his attention on the MFA presidency election and asked Dr Mifsud, who intends to run for re-election after 18 years in power, to clarify the situation so both candidates could move on with their campaigns.
"I have no problem to face up with him and talk about the contract issue," Darmanin Demajo said.
"I'm also ready to admit the blame if I'm wrong and he comes up with clear answers.
"But he has to reveal all details in that contract so this chapter can be closed once and for all. Then, we can all start campaigning in calmer waters."