MFA president delivers traditional speech in last Council meeting

MFA President Dr Joe Mifsud delivered the traditional speech on the occasion of the last Council Meeting for the season 2009/10 which is also the last meeting before the association’s Annual General Meeting which will be held on August 7th.

Dr Mifsud opened his speech by thanking the Council members for their work over the past year. He said that although the function of the Council changed in recent years, it still played an important role in the organisation of football.

The MFA president went on to highlight the association’s work. He said that except for the First Division League, an increase in the attendance for all other divisions was registered. For Dr Mifsud, this was a clear sign that the association was doing its utmost to keep the game clean from corruption.

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On club level, for the second year running, Maltese clubs did well claiming six positive results out of eight matches. He said that not only the participating clubs deserved praise but also the other clubs who offered them a worthy challenge throughout the season.

The senior national team played the final two World Cup qualifiers, losing narrowly to Sweden. The Under-21 side lost all matches but except for one game, the team suffered narrow defeats. The Under-17 side, on the other hand, reached the Elite Round of the competition.

Following the completion of the UEFA Mini-Pitches project, the association was fully focussed on the project to improve the facilities of member clubs. Dr Mifsud said that when the association witnessed the clubs’ enthusiasm, it seeked further funds for a total of €4.5 million. The remaining funds were obtained thanks to a bank loan. Unlike grants from UEFA, bank loans have to be repaid and therefore it was of utmost importance that the association’s financial position remains healthy as otherwise, the rates of interest and other conditions could change.

The MFA president said that the association would be seeking to increase the funds for this same project in order to aid those clubs which have not yet taken part in this project, as well as to aid clubs which have already benefitted but who are considering further improvement for their facilities.

Dr Mifsud said that during the coming season, the national team will play a home friendly match against one of the most highly ranked teams and the revenue in terms of TV Rights and advertising from this game will be distributed to member clubs, Youth FA, MFRA and MFCA for a sum of €5,000 each for the next three years. He said that this game will only be played if he is re-elected to the post of president as the contract will only be signed in September.

The MFA will cover all the expenses for referees who control its member associations’ competitive matches, including the First and Second Division in Gozo.

The MFA president revealed that discussions are currently underway with a German company to convert the base underneath the natural turf of the National Stadium to an artificial one. In this way, the natural turf pitch would be able to host more matches while not being affected by bad weather. This project, which would cost around €300,000 including 1,500 tons of sand, would be financed by a grant. He also said that other grants would make it possible for the other stadiums including the Hibernians Stadium, Victor Tedesco Stadium and Gozo Stadium to be further upgraded.

Dr Mifsud thanked vice-presidents Carmelo Bartolo, Ludovico Micallef and Dr Peter Fenech for their hard work throughout the past years and pointed out that he was disappointed that treasurer Alex Manfre will be running also for the post of vice-president. The MFA president said that for this reason, he urged Paul Bugeja to submit his nomination for the post of treasurer. He said that with Bartolo, Micallef, Fenech and Bugeja, he would be able to continue working for the good of the game. Dr Mifsud said he is confident as he knew people know how to appreciate and know that he delivers more than what he had promised.

He concluded by thanking all those involved in the game – officials of the association, member clubs and member associations, referees, coaches and players.

During the Annual General Meeting, Dr Joe Mifsud and Norman Darmanin Demajo will be contesting for the post of President, Carmelo Bartolo, Dr Peter Fenech, Alex Manfre and Ludovico Micallef for the posts of Vice-Presidents (three) and Paul Bugeja, Alex Manfre and Antoine Portelli for the post of Treasurer.