Sixteen football organisations receive € 1.5 million

Sixteen football organisations received funds amounting to € 1.5 million which were presented by Minister of Finance, the Economy and Investment Tonio Fenech and Parliamentary Secretary for Youth and Sport Clyde Puli in the presence of MFA President Dr Joe Mifsud at the Rabat Ajax Football Ground in Mtarfa. 
The clubs to benefit from these funds which were meant to improve facilities, mainly the installation of artificial turf pitches, building of dressing rooms and installation of artificial lighting, are Siggiewi, Rabat Ajax, Qrendi, Zurrieq, Zebbug Rangers, Santa Lucia, Sliema Wanderers, Pietà Hotspurs, Qormi, Gudja United, Marsa, Balzan Youths, Mgarr United, Kirkop United and Lija Athletic together with the Gozo Football Association.
Parliamentary Secretary Clyde Puli said these funds were made available through the National Lottery Good Causes Fund, the Kunsill Malti ghall-Isport and schemes for refund on capital investments.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Youth and Sport explained that the government’s plan to improve sport facilities on the island included the building of sports complexes and facilities built by the government, the building of sports facilities in schools which are then used by other organisations after school hours and by handing over land to clubs and associations to build their own facilities.
Mr Puli thanked the Malta Football Association for doing its part by also presenting funds to the clubs in order to complete the upgrading of their facilities. He also thanked the clubs as thanks to this partnership they were contributing to the promotion of sport and Minister Tonio Fenech for increasing the funds for these projects. 
MFA president Dr Joe Mifsud explained that in January 2007, the UEFA Congress had confirmed the UEFA Executive Committee’s decision to establish the HatTrick II Programme. He said that the Malta Football Association immediately thought about making use of the funds available through this programme by investing in facilities for clubs and member associations.
From the UEFA HatTrick II Programme, the association obtained €2.5 million – €2 million for upgrading of facilities and €0.5 million for the building of the National Grassroots Centre. With a large number of clubs and member associations applying to benefit from these funds, the association decided to increase the funds by obtaining a bank loan of €2 million and then a further €0.5 million. Therefore the association made available for clubs a total of €4.5 million. 
Dr Mifsud said that following talks with Minister of Finance, the Economy and Investment Tonio Fenech and Parliamentary Secretary for Youth and Sport Clyde Puli, the latter two supported this initiative by making more funds available. He said that UEFA believed that there should be a partnership between football associations, the government and local authorities.
The MFA president said he hoped these new facilities will give a fresh impetus to sports on the island. More children would be encouraged to take part in sports. He said that although not all children attending nurseries will become football players, they would have still learned positive values which make them better persons. Something which is of utmost importance in a country where human resources are the country’s biggest resource.
Finally Dr Mifsud thanked Tonio Fenech and Clyde Puli for their help.
Minister of Finance, the Economy and Investment Tonio Fenech said he was pleased that by working together, this project of improvement of facilities was made possible.
He said that in past, clubs had a headache trying to find out from where to get funds to build their facilities. Now by the pooling of resources, better results could be achieved. He said that investment in sports facilities was important for the country as it enabled more youths to take part in sports and therefore develop a better character.