Newly-promoted Premier League side St. Andrews announced a three-year partnership agreement with Talent Eleven Group and unveiled Tipico Careers as the club’s main sponsor for the coming season. Details were given during a press conference at the Luxol Sports Club on Monday.
Speaking on behalf of Luxol, Jason Falzon said Talent Eleven will be the club’s partners for at least the next three years where the two parties will be working together to develop both local and foreign talent. Falzon said that both Luxol and Talent Eleven share the same philosophy of believing in youth and aimed at developing talent. Therefore this partnership was a natural match.
This partnership will not only cover the senior side but also the Under-19, Under-17, Under-15 and Under-13 side in order to achieve a natural progression from the Luxol Academy up to the senior team.
Jason Falzon said that the idea is not that they do not care about winning but investing by developing young talents and then winning would come as a natural result of such development.
Talent Eleven CEO Denis Guerra said discussions between the two parties started around a year ago and kicked-off with a pilot project with regards to youngsters. Guerra said that Luxol provided excellent facilities which attracted lots of children to the Luxol Academy and their families. Therefore this was the ideal place to develop young talent.
Speaking of Talent Eleven, Guerra said that the company focussed on trying to create new players – developing the talent of young players, giving them the possibility of moving abroad. He said that this was only possible by working hard daily.
Denis Guerra said St. Andrews will be aiming to develop players, local and foreigners, while the club maintains its Premier League. He said that by the end of the year, players should have stepped up in quality.
This project will not be terminated should St. Andrews fail to stay in the top division. In fact, Jason Falzon said discussions had started when the club was still playing in the First Division and they had no particular ambitions for promotion. Denis Guerra added that obviously staying in the Premier League would be better as there is more intensity rather than in the First Division but still, this long-term project would continue. He said that there would still be talent to be developed.
Former Malta Under-19 national coach Wayne Attard have been appointed as the new coach of St. Andrews.
Attard said that it was a pleasure for him to return to the club where he had already spent four years. He said this was a big challenge not only for himself but also for the whole club since it was not easy to play with just young players in the top division. However he believes this was the way forward – bringing young players on board and lead them all the way.
Sports Director Paolo Fiori said his role will not only be to identify players for the squad but also to develop this project. With regards to the choice of foreign players, he said that these had to be specific players who are still young, have a certain profile and experiences so that they can help the other young players in the squad.
Around twelve foreign players will be joining the club for a trial with Attard eventually choosing “four or five quality players.” These players will be from the born 1993-1997 age groups in order to fit the project. Players who are eager to come to Malta as a stepping-stone to go play abroad.
The new St. Andrews coach insisted that the majority of the players in the squad will be Maltese, stating that throughout his spell at the MFA Technical Centre, he had seen too many good players.
The club’s first signing from the local market is Nick Ghio – a former member of the Malta Under-17 and Under-19 squads who spent the last part of the season in Division 1 on loan with Gudja United from Attard. Other former members of the Malta Under-19 squad could follow.
Meanwhile Tipico Careers will be the club’s main sponsor for the coming season.
Tipico Director of Human Resources Kevin Norville explained that Tipico was a sports betting company based in Malta, employing two hundred people – eighty of which are Maltese. He said that although the company was German-focussed, it wanted to give something back to the Maltese.
Norville said the company was growing quite rapidly and hence was the need to bring new employees on board – looking for future talent to join the company. He said the company was committed to this sponsorship due to its very strong social responsibility.
Tipico HR Projects Manager Thomas Mahoney added that the company aimed at helping the less privileged, giving opportunities to kids and their families.