The Youth FA Annual Seminar was held at The Palace Hotel in Sliema on Saturday. A seminar attended by over a hundred administrators and head coaches representing all the member nurseries of the Association.
During the introductory speech, the YFA President appealed to those present to use sports to teach morality and ethics to the children in their care and thus instil good values for the rest of their lives, independently if they continue to play football or not. At its best, sport is about the honourable pursuit of victory. It is not just about playing by the rules; it is also about playing within the spirit of the rules. It requires sportsmanship, fair play, playing clean, and above all respect.
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The first keynote speaker was Marcel Mizzi, the creator of the YFA Passport database system. He explained all the features of this system, and now that it is fully online all the nurseries have access to the data of their own players which will make the administrators’ life easier. The Youth FA passport system will also enable all the nurseries to enquire if a player is already registered with another nursery.
Safeguarding our children in youth football was the topic chosen by Andrew Aquilina for his presentation. Andrew Azzopardi, who in the past worked for the English FA is a social worker by profession, but also a football enthusiast and a licenced coach. He used his experiences in these sectors to highlight the vulnerabilities and preventions to take when working with children and youths in football.
MFA Vice President Dr. Chris Bonnett addressed the last session of the seminar, focusing on the player status reform with special regards to the changes affecting the youth and grassroots players and the nurseries operations.
In his closing speech, MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo appealed to all those working in the grassroots sector to focus on player development, as this was much more important than winning at this level.