The Gozo Football Association inaugurated its latest of a series of projects aimed at the upgrading of the Gozo Stadium. These projects are a Five-a Side Pitch in artificial turf which occupies the area between the dressing room and the western side of the full size pitch and the parking facilities in the area behind the dressing rooms and the headquarters.
These were officially inaugurated on January 9. The opening ceremony started with a speech by the President of the Gozo Football Association Mr. Alvin Grech who said that the new facilities will serve for different objectives. The pitch will provide a training area for the teams which form the Association and the parking area provides the necessary service for all those who attend the activities of the Association. Through these projects the Gozo Stadium also have better security and accessibility. The President said that during the past two years an intensive program of works took place at the Gozo Stadium which changed the appearance of the Stadium. All this work was carried out with a lot of effort by all those involved among certain difficult situations.
Nowadays the Gozo Stadium practically meets the standards required by UEFA, with the objective that Gozo can attract foreign clubs to carry out training camps on the island. Through this activity, the Association will not only contribute to increase the tourism sector but will also have an opportunity for additional income which will be transposed in more investments for the clubs.
The new project for the Association for the near future is to transform the Gozo Stadium into an Eco-Stadium. This project will consist in the demolition of the VIP Area and the existing canopies for the reconstruction of new canopies covered with photovoltaic panels to generate the energy required for the operation of the Stadium. Moreover, the Association is preparing to build a large reservoir behind the parking area which can collect all the water drained from the Stadium. The same water will be re-used for the watering of the pitch. Mr Grech concluded his intervention by saying that all these projects are made possible through the help and support of a number of persons and entities, particularly Ministers Ms. Giovanna Debono and Mr Tonio Fenech, MFA President Mr Norman Darmanin Demajo and his colleagues at the MFA, Architects Ludovigo Micallef and Angelo Portelli; together with the GFA officials especially Joe Bajada and George Cini.
MFA President Mr Norman Darmanin Demajo delivered a short speech on this occasion. He said that it is a great pleasure for him to be in Gozo, an island that attracts him and where he has a second home for the past twenty years. According to the President this project will help a lot of youngsters and clubs in their regular training. He notices that the Gozo Stadium is being equipped to reach the high standards established by UEFA and this will make it possible so that in the near future some international matches will return to Gozo. He said that he wishes that all the clubs will have their own facilities and a collective effort would be required so that the Association will those clubs who do not have adequate facilities. Mr Darmanin Demajo stressed on the need for appropriate facilities fort all the clubs and that the major investment of each club should be addressed towards reaching this objective. The President concluded his speech by stating that Malta’s climate is ideal to attract foreign teams to visit our islands. The improvements at the Gozo Stadium should interest not only foreign teams but also teams from Malta, since Gozo is an interesting destination for tournaments which may involve teams from lower categories. Mr Darmanin Demajo congratulated the Gozo Football Association for the project and thanked all those who contributed in the completion of this facility.
The final message of the ceremony was delivered by the Minister for Gozo Giovanna Debono. She said that she was very satisfied to be present for the inauguration of more facilities and upgrading of the Gozo Stadium, which is a landmark in the sport sector in Gozo. The Ministry for Gozo recognizes the importance of this site which was originally a ground with sand and through a process of hard and continuous work, nowadays it provides modern high level facilities. The Minister referred to the contribution of the Ministry for Gozo in the upgrading of various sports facilities, not only at the Gozo Stadium, but also in other venues around the island. The Minister said that this five-a-side pitch will offer additional service to all the Gozitan club. The parking facilities, which provide 75 parking spaces, will also accommodate the needs for those who attend the Stadium and the activities at the headquarters of the Association. Hon. Debono noted that the high level of the facilities has made it possible for the venue to host Maltese teams and foreign teams, as happened during June 2010 when the VIVA World Cup was held. She said that all this activity contributes for sports tourism in Gozo. The Minister concluded he message by congratulating all those who gave their contribution in the implementation of these facilities. The project was another result of collaboration and a collective effort by all the entities involved, and that in the future everyone will be meeting again for the inauguration of further upgrading facilities in this Stadium which is the heart of Sports in Gozo.
At the end of the ceremony the Minister for Gozo Hon. Giovanna Debono, the MFA President Mr Norman Darmanin Demajo and the GFA President Mr Alvin Grech unveiled a plaque to mark this occasion. The new facilities were blessed by Fr. Joe Borg, MSSP. At the end of the official ceremony a symbolic kick-off on the new pitch took place by Mr Alvin Grech, Mr Norman Darmanin Demajo and Hon. Giovanna Debono at the whistle of the GFA General Secretary Mr Joe Bajada.
Meanwhile Gozitan referees together with their assistants who are assigned matches from the Gozo Youth FA will be having new kits sponsored by Sportmania. The company signed an agreement with the Gozo Football Association so that all the Gozitan referees will be provided with a full kit which includes four tops of the Sportika label, two black and two yellow.
The official presentation of the kits was made by Mr Mario Camilleri, official agent for Sportika for Malta and Gozo. Mr Camilleri presented the kits to Mr Joe Bajada, who is not only the General Secretary of the Gozo Football Association, but was the only Gozitan referee in 1973. Mr Bajada is still active among the Gozitan referees and is a member in the Referees Commission of the NF Board, the organisation which organises the VIVA World Cup. Also present during the ceremony were Mr Alvin Grech, GFA President, Mr Tony Grech Secretary of the Gozo Youth FA and Mr Saviour Bajada, treasurer of the Gozo Youth FA.
Mr Camilleri said that his company, Sportika, is honoured to be part of this sponsorship and that through this contribution the appearance of the Gozitan referees during all the football matches will be standard. He also expressed his appreciation to the GFA and most of the Gozitan clubs for making use of kits provided by Sportika. Mr Joe Bajada in his reply thanked Sportika for their sponsorship and hopes that through this new look of the referees the nurseries that participate in the Youth competitions will follow the example to give the necessary attention to the kits of their respective teams. It was pointed out that the kits were given to the referees free of any charges as part of the expenditure was made by the GFA.
The GFA President Mr Alvin Grech expressed the satisfaction of the Association for this agreement. The President thanked the sponsors and remarked about the importance of this kind of sponsorship to the officials of the matches, who are also protagonists of the match.