Darmanin Demajo urges clubs to move out of comfort zones

MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo urged clubs not to be afraid to move out of their comfort zones and take risks for change to happen. Darmanin Demajo was speaking at the end of the Annual General Meeting of the Malta Football Association for 2011 which was held on Saturday at the Dragonara Point Ballroom, Westin Dragonara Resort, St. Julian’s.

Items on the agenda were the approval of the Minutes of the last AGM held on the 7th August 2010 and the last EGM held on the 22nd June 2011, the approval of the Report of Activities of the Association and the Audited Accounts and Balance Sheet of the Association for the year 2010/2011 and the Election of the Ordinary Members of the Executive Committee of the Association for the year 2011/2012.

The MFA President opened the meeting by saying that this Annual General Meeting was not only meant to take a look at what had been done over the past twelve months but also to look towards the future. He said that one year ago, the Council Members and delegated voted for change.

Posing a question to those present: has the mentality change por not, Darmanin Demajo said that for change to occur, not only the presidency had to change but all those involved in football – administrators, players and supporters.

Mentioning episodes surrounding one of the very first football matches to be played on the island – the Floriana Cup match between Floriana and St. George’s which was played on May 13, 1900, he once again asked whether the attitude and mentality of people involved in the game have changed or not.

Following the Approval of the Administrative Report and the Financial Report, the next item of the agenda were the elections.

No election for the officers of the Association was necessary as these are held every three years and no elections were necessary either for the Council Members in representation of Member Clubs in the different Divisions and to represent The Youth Football Association and the Gozo Football Association as there was an equal number of candidates to the number of vacancies.

There were seven candidates to fill two vacancies for the posts of Council Members in representation of Member Clubs in general. Michael Cutajar and John Vella were elected with 54 votes and 44 votes respectively. The other candidates were Paul Caruana (17 votes), Victor Cassar (26), Joseph Farrugia (29), Robert Micallef (36) and Lawrence Seychell (11).

Three candidates were running for the posts of two Council Members in representation of the other Member Associations. Lino Bartolo and Donald Spiteri were elected with 82 votes and 71 votes respectively. The other candidate was Joseph M. Cassar Naudi (47 votes).

Therefore the Council Members for season 2011/12 are as follows:
Premier Division: Mr. Jesmond ABELA and Mr. Paul SPITERI
First Division: Mr. Joseph SAMMUT and Mr. Charles J. SCERRI
Second Division: Mr. Tyrone DEMANUELE and Mr. Raymond MICALLEF
Third Division: Mr. Paul SAMMUT and Mr. Stefan VELLA
Council Members in representation of Member Clubs in general: Mr. Michael CUTAJAR and Mr. JOHN VELLA.
Youth Football Association: Mr. Joseph MICALLEF
Gozo Football Association: Mr. Alvin GRECH
Council Members in representation of the other Member Associations: Mr. Lino BARTOLO and Mr. Donald SPITERI.

Two amendments to the Statute were put forward by the Gozo Football Association.

In one amendment, the Gozo FA called for the inclusion of two representatives of the Gozo Youth Football Association in the Council of Malta Football Association. The Council Members and delegates present approved a motion by Executive Committee member Joe Sammut saying that the Gozo Youth FA should have one representative in the Council.

An amendment to Article 81 regarding the compensation in transfers of players to or from Gozo FA clubs, registrations of these players which has to be done:
(a) in accordance with provisions releating to Third Division clubs for those clubs competing in the Gozo FA Second Division.
(b) in accordance with provisions releating to Second Division clubs for those clubs competing in the Gozo FA First Division;
was approved as well.

In his final address, MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo said he hoped the current administration has shown clearly the change they would like to introduce, starting from the facilities and continued professional education.

He said that a change in the president of the association was not enough for change as he could only give the direction. It was up to clubs to change the attitude and mentality.

Darmanin Demajo explained that most people preferred staying in their comfort zone but to move forward, one had to have the necessary courage and move out, not being afraid of taking risks.

The MFA President said the association had to focus more on marketing after investing in infrastructure at Ta’ Qali, namely corporate hospitality for clubs, catering facilties and a museum at the Millennium Stand, new LED advertising system and scoreboard and the electronic ticketing system among others. He said the association was taking risks as it wanted to move ahead.

Darmanin Demajo urged clubs to be proactive, stressing that they are now reponsible for the facilities they have. He said the association moved out of its comfort zone and tried to identify new streams of income, saying that once people feel that there is something different, people will react positively.

MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo revealed that the association has just concluded a new three-year deal with Bank of Valletta for the sponsorship of the National League and is close to reaching an agreement with Maltco Lotteries over a new sponsorship deal.

Darmanin Demajo went on to reveal that FXDD will be the new sponsor of the national team. The foreign exchange company, who reached a sponsorship agreement with referees mid-way through the season, will the first company to sponsor the national team after an absence of about fifteen years. The company has now established a very good relationship with the referees’ association and after short negotiations, accepted to sponsor the national team as well.

“MFA is full of enthusiasm and is moving out of its comfort zone. We could not just wait to receive UEFA funds before trying to do something. We chose to invest all our income in the clubs’ infrastructure,” said Darmanin Demajo.

The MFA President said the association could not continue to work on a part-time basis. Council meetings had to start earlier in the afternoon because it was not fair for anyone to attend a meeting in the evening after a day at work. Council members would be given an allowance for them to be able to take time off work. He said that only in this way the association would work on a more professional basis.

“We cannot do nothing on our own. We need your support. Ignore comments by people who do not have the the good of the game at heart,” Darmanin Demajo told the Council Members and delegates present.

He went on to stress that the way clubs were being run had to change. Clubs had to make sure to take good care of their facilities. The association would possibly set-up a central maintainance system to support clubs in this regard. For clubs to be run on a more professional basis, they had to employ a full-time administrator. The MFA would support part of the expense the employment of such administrators would carry.

Referring to the financial fair play, Darmanin Demajo said clubs cannot be run on a loss as this was not the way forward. Clubs had to face reality and not risk having losses they could not cope with. They had to be run on the budget available. He said that that would be the real challenge.

As regards match-fixing, the MFA president urged clubs to fight this tumour which could kill the game. He revealed that as part of the UEFA HatTrick Programme, each association will have to appoint an integrity officer.

Darmanin Demajo also urged clubs to take responsibility and control of their supporters. He said one cannot accept a situation where supporters visit a particular venue, create trouble or damage these venues and no one seems to take responsibility.

MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo finally said that he will not decide whether this attitude has changed or not, concluding with a quote by Mahatma Gandhi “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Photos: Copyright © domenic aquilina