The Report of Activities of the Malta Football Association for the year 2010/2011 were presented during the Annual General Meeting of the Malta Football Association on Saturday.
MFA Chief Executive Officer Bjorn Vassallo pointed out the main highlights from the Administrative Report which focussed mainly on the MFA Technical Centre, Academy and Regions, the national teams, domestic competitions, Referees, incentives for clubs and member associations and the project for the facilities of clubs and the association. By helping the clubs to have adaquate facilities, the association was laying the foundations for the game in order to gain more popularity, said Vassallo.
Over the past season, the Executive Committee and the Council met on a regular basis. Following an Extraordinary General Meeting which was held last month, the council members and delegates approved an amendment to the statute thanks to which every club now has two votes in the Annual General Meeting and each club will be represented in the Council. The Council will now be composed of seventy-one members.
Following a revamp of the MFA Technical Centre, it is the association’s objective for the centre to serve as an Open Learning Centre. Robert Gatt was appointed as Technical Director who has the duty to observe, analyse study and recommend the proper practices in the national teams, grassroots, regions system, coach education and social inclusion.
Academy and Regions
The Regions system will be adopted once again. The Academy, under the guidance of Carmel Busuttil as Youth Development Head Coach, will bring together the best players from around the island. The regions – three in Malta and one in Gozo – will be under the supervision of Edwin Camilleri.
It was a busy year for the national teams with:
the Malta A team going close to collecting its first point in the group;
the Under-23 side playing the last game from the International Challenge Trophy;
the Under-21 side, under the guidance of new coach Ray Farrugia, assisted by Ronald Vella, obtaining positive results in the UEFA Under-21 Championship;
the Under-19 side taking part in a mini-tournament in Slovenia and now under the guidance of new coach Branko Nisevic, assisted by Emmanuel Farrugia, preparing for a mini-tournament which will be played in Austria next season;
the Under-17 side taking part in a mini-tournament in Malta and now under the guidance of new coach Branko Nisevic, assisted by Billy Mock, preparing for a mini-tournament which will be played in Montenegro next season;
the Regions Cup team taking part in a mini-tournament in Malta;
the Women’s national team taking part in a mini-tournament in Malta;
the Futsal national team taking part in a mini-tournament in Malta.
The association is also exploring the possibility of having a Beach Soccer national team.
In the last season of domestic competitions with the current format, there was an overall increase of 44% in the number of spectators.
Premier League: increased by 3.5%
First Division: decreased by 7.5%
Second Division: increased by 232%
Third Division: decreased by 51%
FA Trophy: decreased by 15%
Super Cup: increased by 238%
Euro Cup: increased by 7.5%
First Division Knock-Out: decreased by 23.7%
Second & Third Division Knock-Out: increased by 38%
Adrian Casha has been appointed as Director of Referees. The referees’ image has improved with the presentation of full kits for matches and for training.
Besides the usual meetings and seminars, the association will focus more on exchanges with other countries.
International referees Esther Azzopardi and Franco Cachia were promoted to the First Category and Category 2 Futsal Referee respectively.
Incentives for clubs and Member Associations
The biggest incentive for clubs was the gate money which is now going directly to clubs as the association is no longer taking the 40% share it used to get.
The electronic ticketing system will be introduced next season and this will hopefully provide a more fair distribution of gate money.
Clubs received an increase of 88% over gate money over the previous season. In fact, last season clubs received the sum of €324,083 compared to the €172,141 of the previous season.
The association has been working on the reduction of the cost of operation on match days and will present a new match calendar.
The change in the format of the domestic competitions will hopefully attract more people to the stadiums and there will no longer be morning fixtures.
The association helped clubs and member associations directly subsidising expenses related to referees and the renting of venues. Match balls are being provided for all competitions organised by the association.
The Cash Collateral Scheme was launched in order to assist clubs in meeting short term finance requirements from bank loans guaranteed by an MFA fund specifically made available for this purpose.
The MFA is also planning to support clubs financially in order to employ a full-time or part-time administrator.
Infrastructural projects and facilities
Refurbishing at the National Stadium included a new Laundry Room, new Kit Room, new Staff Room, new Police Depot; the dressing rooms were improved and the VVIP Lounge and VIP entrance were embellished. Other works included the building of Press Boxes, a Press Conference Area and a Flash News Area, the installation of a LED advertising system along the perimeter of the pitch and a new scoreboard; the embellishment of the Excutive Boxes in the Millennium Stand, the refurbishing of the Parking Area underneath the Millennium Stand; the installation of an artificial turf pitch for the warm-up at the Centenary Stadium; besides other maintanance works at the National Stadium.
New facilities were added to the West Stand to complement the VIP Area and the new VVIP Area. More works are planned for level 2 and level 3 at the Millennium Stand.
The premises of the MFA Technical Centre was given a complete revamp while the Youth Football Association was relocated to new premises within the Centenary Stadium. The Sport Science and Medical Centre will be built at the MFA Training Grounds.
Major works are taking place at the Victor Tedesco Stadium in order to improve the stadium’s facilities, including the increase in capacity to 2,000. Other works are taking place in the regional stadiums in Mosta, St. Paul’s Bay, St. Andrew’s while works at the Rabat Ajax Ground will start shortly.
The main stand of the Hibernians Stadium will be replaced in a year’s time but in the mean time, the capacity was increased to around 2,000 spectators. Facilities at the Corradino Pavilion will be upgraded.
Photo: Copyright © domenic aquilina