Platini to visit Malta next month — Government to invest €9 million in club facilities

UEFA President Michel Platini will be visiting Malta on March 31. This was announced by MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo during the presentation of the commitment letters to clubs by Parliamentary Secretary for Youth and Sport Clyde Puli and Minister for Finance, The Economy and Investment Tonio Fenech at the Centenary Stadium on Saturday.

Clyde Puli and Tonio Fenech announced an investment of €9 million to improve the facilities of nineteen clubs over the next two years.

The MFA President said that two years ago he dreamt that each club had its own adequate facilities where children could play football in a safe environment. He said that not all clubs could afford spending around €300,000 to improve their facilities. Darmanin Demajo said that during a meeting with Clyde Puli, he told him that the government had a duty to support clubs in this matter. The government is fully supporting these projects in various manners, including the Good Causes Fund, Kunsill Malti g?all-iSport and VAT refunds, and hence this was a joint-effort by the Malta Football Association and the government.

He went on to explain that by investing in facilities, one was laying the foundations and then it was of utmost importance to have sound management and a good maintenance programme to look after these facilities.

Darmanin Demajo once again stressed on the importance of Financial Fair Play and therefore the main priority for clubs should be to balance accounts. The top priority should not be players’ salaries but infrastructure and maintenance.

The MFA President said that he had just received the confirmation that UEFA President Michel Platini will visit Malta on March 31 where he will inaugurate the new artificial turf pitch in Fgura. He said UEFA were impressed with these projects.

Darmanin Demajo concluded his speech by saying that two years ago, many could have deemed him crazy to dream of such projects but insisted that he will continue to dream in the same way as long as he was the president of the association.

Parliamentary Secretary for Youth and Sport Clyde Puli revealed that during a meeting of the council of sports ministers, he had met Michel Platini who asked the government to give all possible help to football in Malta. Puli said this agreement continues to seal this help and now almost all clubs have their own artificial turf pitch. He said that between 2008 and now, 33 clubs benefited from this help and a further 19 will benefit from this €9 million package over the next two years.

Puli stressed that it was of utmost importance to invest in facilities and make them sustainable as this would lead to nurturing a sports culture. He thanked the Malta Football Association and Minister Tonio Fenech for giving priority to sport.

Minister for Finance, The Economy and Investment Tonio Fenech said that although over the past years, the government tried to cut expenses, this was not the case in culture and sport as more funds were made available.

Parents whose children attended nurseries or practiced sports with the various clubs were given tax reductions.

Fenech concluded by saying that it was of utmost importance for all clubs to have adequate facilities as only in this way, children could choose to practice sports.

Kalkara FC, ?ejtun Corinthians FC, Xg?ajra Tornados FC, G?arg?ur FC, Marsaskala FC, G?ira United FC, Dingli Swallows FC, Sirens FC, Valletta FC, Msida St. Joseph FC, Swieqi FC, Senglea Athletics, Floriana FC, Luqa St. Andrew’s, Mdina Knights FC, Naxxar Lions, ?amrun Spartans FC, Bir?ebbu?a St. Peter’s, Santa Venera Lightnings FC will benefit from this agreement.

On the other hand, Naxxar Lions FC; Mtarfa FC; ?ejtun Corinthians; Lija Athletic; Balzan Youths FC; Qrendi FC; Marsaskala FC; G?ira United FC; Msida St. Joseph FC; M?arr United FC; St. George’s FC; Qormi FC; Swieqi United FC; Marsa FC; Cottonera United; Bir?ebbu?a Windmill; Senglea Athletics FC and Paola Hibernians Nursery will continue to benefit from the use of facilities in state schools for the next two years.

Photos: Copyright © domenic aquilina