Two Maltese clubs will be joining League Championship side Sheffield United in the second edition of the JPL Cisk Lager Cup which will be held on Friday 16th at the Hibernians Stadium. Details were revealed during a press conference which was held on Friday at Teamsport, Iklin.
Champions Birkirkara and newly-promoted Vittoriosa Stars are expected to take part in the triangular tournament but should Birkirkara make it to the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League, they would be replaced by Hibernians. Last year, Dingli Swallows, Floriana and Sheffield Wednesday took part in the tournament.
The tournament will be played on a 45-minute games basis, starting at 19:30.
The first game at 19:30 will be Birkirkara vs Vittoriosa Stars; at 20:30 the loser of the first game face Sheffield United while at 21:30, the Blades take on the winner of the first game. In case of a draw, penalty-kicks decide the winner.
Louis Agius from JPL Sport Events explained that three points will be awarded for a win, two for a win on penalties and one for a defeat after a penalty shoot-out.
Agius thanked the sponsors which include Cisk Lager, Teamsport who represent Italian sportswear company Macron who is the kit-sponsor of the three clubs – Birkirkara, Vittoriosa and Sheffield United – and Fuego who will be sponsoring the trophy for the best player of the tournament – the Fuego Player of the Tournament.
He concluded by revealing that three top European clubs are expected to visit Malta in December and if everything goes to plan, a top-level tournament could be held in Malta. Agius said that such training camps and tournaments are giving Malta a big exposure while presenting opportunities for local clubs to take part in these tournaments.
Warren Zahra from Alpine Sterling said that following an agreement with Sheffield United, his company offered its services to organise a programme of activities which will enable Blades fans and the Maltese to get closer access to the team. Activities will include a handprint session at Bay Street – Malta’s own walk of fame on Tuesday 13, a Q&A fans forum and a beach BBQ attended by the players on Wednesday 14.
Zahra said that following the success of last season’s tour, Sheffield United were looking forward towards this training camp and were aiming at making this one of the most eventful tours.
The Sheffield United squad, which will include Malta international striker Daniel Bogdanovic, arrives in Malta on July 12 and leaves on Saturday 17. Training sessions will be held at Ta’ Qali.
Meanwhile Vittoriosa Stars coach Winston Muscat said that taking part in this tournament will be a great honour for the club since this will be the first ever experience for the club against a foreign team. He said he will be using this tournament to prepare the team for the coming season.
On behalf of Birkirkara, vice-president Andrew Calleja also expressed the club’s satisfaction for being invited to take part in the tournament.
Tickets for the JPL Cisk Lager Cup cost €6.
Booking enquires for the Blades’ activities taking place in Malta can be made through Alpine Sterling on telephone 2576 6000 or email: [email protected]