The number of paying spectators for competitive matches organised by the Malta Football Association during season 2011/12 increased by ten per cent compared to the attendance of the previous season and by twelve per cent compared to 2009/10.
Although it is not easy to compare figures with those of the previous seasons due to the change in format of the various leagues, the net income from gate money was €710,712, an increase of 13.4% over 2010/12.
This emerged from the Report of Activities of the Association (Administrative Report) for the year 2011/12 which was approved during the MFA’s Annual General Meeting on Saturday.
The total number of paying spectators for 2011/12 was 155,721 compared to the 141,194 in 2010/11 and 139,133 in 2009/10.
The BOV Premier League saw an increase of 11%, the BOV First Division an increase of 151%, the BOV Second Division a decrease of 50%, the BOV Third Division a decrease if 52%, the U*BET FA Trophy an increase of 31%, the BOV Super Cup an increase of 61% and the Euro Cup an increase of 114%.
The fact that with the new format of competitions, there was an increase in attendances proved that the local game had potential and that with the investment in facilities and various incentives in matters of branding of competitions, the product ‘football’ made significant progress and the sporting public was encouraged to attend.
During the last season, electronic ticketing was introduced in the BOV Premier League – a system which increased control, transparency and efficiency and reduced abuse. Plans are now to introduce electronic ticketing in the BOV First Division and to have tickets for Premier League matches also being sold from clubs.
Premier League clubs generated greater profits while First and Second Division clubs also managed to generate profit rather than lost money. Losses generated by Third Division clubs were minimal.
The Malta A national team played a friendly match against the Central African Republic and the final four matches from the EURO 2012 qualfiers. Coaches John Buttigieg and Carmel Busuttil had their contract terminated and Technical Director Robert Gatt took charge of the team for the friendly match against Liechtenstein. Pietro Ghedin was finally appointed new Malta national coach and led the team in a friendly match against Luxembourg which Malta won 2-0 away from home.
The Under-21 side, led by Ray Farrugia, was engaged in the UEFA Under-21 qualifiers and will be playing their last match from the group next September. Before that game,the team will be playing a friendly march against Liechtenstein.
The Under-19 and Under-17 sides, both led by Branko Nisevic, lost the three games in their respective UEFA Mini-Tournaments. The Under-17nside did quite well in the Easter Tournament. Nisevic will continue to lead the two teams in the forthcoming mini-tournaments but as from 2013, Sergio Soldano will be in charge of the Under-17 team.
The women’s national team played three friendly matches. The Under-21, Under-17 and Under-16 teams were also involved in friendly matches.
The Futsal national team, under the guidance of new coach Kevin Mifsud won one of the six matches played.
Following the recognition of the Malta Beach Soccer Association as member association, there are plans to form a natioonal team to take part in competitions organised by FIFA and BSWW.
A Gozitan selection will take part in the UEFA Regions Cup. The mini-tournament will be organised by the GFA in Gozo.
Executive Committee and Council
The Gozo Youth FA and eventually the Futsal Malta Association and the Malta Beach Soccer Association were recognised as member associations.
Each club and member association was granted the right to be represented in the Council.
Committees and Boards
In order to keep rules and regulations up to date with the requirements of FIFA, UEFA and member clubs and associations, various sections of the statute have been amended.
A set of regulations to guarantee Financial Fair Play were also created.
MFA Technical Centre
Sergio Soldano was appointed Youth Development Head Coach and entrusted with the responsibility of the MFA Academy.
A campaign ‘Get into Football’ was launched in order to attract games to playing football.
Academy and Regions
A new Under-13 Festival was organised together with the Youth FA. This complimented the system of how children are selected to form part of national selections.
Adrian Casha was in charge of appointments for the top divisions and Saviour Darmanin for the other competitions. An Academy for Referees was also set up.
Office of the Prosecutor and Integrity Officer
The MFA Prosecutor and Integrity Officer are basing their investigations on research and not only on reports.
The association passed on the report regarding the Norway vs Malta game to UEFA in April and the European body is set to announce its decisions over the case.
IT and Branding
New software was developed to assist the administration and eventually clubs.
The association is making more use of open source software.
The MFA signed new sponsorship agreements with FXDD and Farsons while the agreements with BOV and Maltco were extended.
PBS won the rights to broadcast National A Team and Under-21 national team matches.
The association launched a new website and Facebook page.
Works at Fgura, Qrendi, Gharghur, Kirkop, Qormi, Luqa, Ghaxaq, Mtarfa and St. Paul’s Bay were completed while that at Dingli is at an advanced stage. Works in the next years will cover the facilities of Valletta, Mdina, Swieqi, Sta. Venera, San Gwann, Senglea, Tarxien, Naxxar and Floriana.
85% of the work at the Victor Tedesco Stadium was completed and the project will resume once MEPA issues the permit.
Works at the Hibernians Stadium will start at the end of season 2012/13.
New dressing rooms were built at the Corradino complex and upgrading at the hall are underway. A new Beach Soccer Stadium was set up at Pembroke.
Photo: Copyright dominc aquilina/MFA