New two-year sponsorship for referees

Referees will benefit from a complete kit for free thanks to a new two-year sponsorship agreement between the Malta Football Association, the Malta Football Referees Association and FXDD Malta Ltd which was signed on Monday. This agreement will run between January 1st 2011 and December 31st 2012.

By means of this agreement, FXDD will sponsor the MFA and be the official sponsor of the MFRA. The complete kit which will be available for free for all referees will include the official match kit which comprises top, shorts, tracksuit, match bag and padded jacket and the official training kits which comprises top, shorts, tracksuit, polo shirt, rain jacket and kit bag. Match officials will be using this apparel at all times while in training and/or officiating all official matches of competitions organised by the Malta Football Association.

Addressing the media, MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo said that this new look for referees was part of a number of changes which will be taking place in the coming weeks and months at the MFA Technical Centre. He said that with the proposed changes to the format of the competitions, more referees would be needed.

The MFA President said that despite criticism, he is satisfied with the level of refereeing in Malta. But although the level is good, the association should continue working towards improving it. He said he was glad FXDD Malta Ltd has agreed on this sponsorship as this would help the association in improving the level of refereeing and motivating the refereeing sector.

Darmanin Demajo said the association will monitor how recruitment of referees was being done and how this should be done. He said that refereeing was very challenging but equally rewarding.

The MFA president said that local referees constantly obtain high marks when controlling matches abroad and singled out the officials who travelled to Scotland a few weeks ago, saying reports praised them for their performance.

He announced that Marco Borg, Chris Lautier, Clayton Pisani and Alan Mario Sant were confirmed as FIFA Referees, Franco Cachia as FIFA Futsal Referee while Esther Azzopardi was promoted to FIFA First Class Women’s Referee. Konrad Borg, Alan Camilleri, Joe Camilleri, Mariano Debono, William Debattista, Edward Spiteri and Ingmar Spiteri were confirmed as FIFA Assistant Referees while Chris Francalanza will replace Philip Agius as FIFA Assistant Referee.

The association was working on possible exchanges with referees from other countries and mentioned the possibility of an exchange with referees from Cyprus. He also said that sports psychologist Ian Maynard will be invited to Malta in March to lead a course in mental preparation for referees.

Darmanin Demajo finally said that the association should invest in recruitment, helping prospective referees understand that refereeing could be extremely rewarding.

MFRA President Lorry Sammut announced that thanks to this sponsorship agreement, referees will be wearing these new Adidas kits starting from the end of this week.

He said that the uniformity of kits for referees was only achieved in the mid-nineties but this was the first time that the complete kits will be available for free.

The MFRA president revealed that around 20 to 25 new referees joined the association every year but the main problem was that of retaining them. He said that the MFRA was doing its best to support new referees by making them work closer to more experienced ones. However he pointed out that one had to understand that the younger referees had to start from somewhere and for example, one could not expect FIFA referees to control the Under-15 matches.

The current complement of referees is that of around hundred referees.

Sammut thanked Norman Darmanin Demajo, MFA CEO Bjorn Vassallo and treasurer Antoine Portelli, Fiona Soler and Mark Zammit on behalf of FXDD Malta Ltd, Jonathan Darmanin on behalf of TeamsporT and MFRA treasurer Andre Arciola.

FXDD Malta Finance Manager Fiona Soler said it was a great pleasure for the company to sponsor referees and said she hopes this sponsorship would help to promote refereeing in Malta.

Soler thanked the Malta Football Association and the Malta Football Referees Association for making this agreement possible.

Meanwhile during a reception for media representatives, two publications were presented to the association.

The first one is Volume One of Goal – an Encyclopedia of Maltese Football. The encyclopedia, consisting of ten volumes, is being compiled by football historian Carmel Baldacchino. Each volume of the encyclopedia is divided into four parts, namely the history of Maltese football, the national team, encounters with foreign teams and an A to Z of Maltese football focussing on players, referees, coaches, officials, foreign clubs visiting Malta and competitions.

The second publication was a translation of the FIFA Laws of the Game by former FIFA Referee Adrian D. Casha. Casha, who is now an MFA Referees Board member, a Referees Observer and a National Referees Instructor, carried out this translation as a thesis for a Masters in Traslation at the University of Malta.

The thesis consists of a translation of the seventeen laws of the game and a glossary of three hundred terms linked to football.

Photos: Copyright © domenic aquilina