Seventeen teams – six from the Premier League, ten from Division 1 and Gozitan champions Victoria Hotspurs – were involved in the draws for the preliminary and first rounds of the U*BET FA Trophy.
Floriana, winners of the competition eighteen times, were drawn with Lija Athletic while Hibernians, who won the Trophy eight times, were paired with the winners of the Preliminary Round clash between First Division sides Pietà Hotspurs and Msida St. Joseph. Marsaxlokk will be facing Mqabba, Tarxien Rainbows take on Balzan Youths, Hamrun Spartans meet Melita while Vittoriosa Stars were paired with Victoria Hotspurs.
The other two matches put against each other teams from Division 1. Dingli Swallows take on Mosta while St. George’s face St. Andrews.
The Preliminary Round match will be played on Wednesday 10 at the Centenary Stadium, kick-off at 19:30. First Round matches will be played on Friday 12, Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 at the Centenary Stadium, Victor Tedesco Stadium and Hibernians Ground.
Addressing the media before the draws, MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo said this was the last year of contract with Maltco Lotteries and augured that this relationship between the parties will result into another sponsorship agreement.
Darmanin Demajo revealed that a new format for the competition is being suggested starting from next season. He is putting forward the idea of having all member clubs and possibly even Gozitan clubs taking part in the FA Trophy.
When asked whether this would replace the Maltco Lotteries First Division Knock-Out and the quick-Keno Second & Third Division Knock-Out, the MFA President said that this would depend on whether the clubs would agree to have the FA Trophy replacing the two Knock-Out competitions.
Darmanin Demajo went on to explain some of the work done over the past three months, saying that particular emphasis is being put on improving the clubs’ facilities. He said that the new football ground in Gzira has been inaugurated, the grounds in Mosta and Siggiewi will soon be inaugurated while works on the grounds in Zejtun, Sirens, Xghajra, Zurrieq and Fgura are nearing completion.
The MFA President said that the association will test the various football grounds to see which of these could host matches from the lower divisions and possibly matches from the FA Trophy next season.
He also said that the MFA’s share from gate-money is now being given to clubs and that the MFA and YFA have reached an agreement over the re-location of the latter association to Ta’ Qali.
Meanwhile Maltco Lotteries Corporate Communication Manager Iris Camilleri Mifsud congratulated Darmanin Demajo on his election to the post of president. She said that this was the sixth year of the sponsorship agreement and that such sponsorship agreements were part of the company’s contribution to society in the form of sponsorship agreements and donations beside the contribution to the Good Causes Fund.
Photos: Copyright © domenic aquilina