The fixtures for BOV First Division, BOV Second Division, BOV Third Division and BOV Women’s First Division leagues 2013/14 were held at the Grand Hotel Excelsior on Saturday by MFA Chief Executive Officer Bjorn Vassallo and BOV Chief Officer Michael Galea.
Bjorn Vassallo said that the association was fully prepared for another exciting football season following a perfect finale last season the BOV Premier League champion was determined with a decider. He also congratulated the champions in the various divisions.
The cherry on the cake for the football season was Malta’s win over Armenia in Yerevan. A win which meant a lot considering the negative perception which surrounded the local game.
Photos (1 and 2): Copyright © Joe Borg
Vassallo said that despite the criticism that the domestic competitions were no longer attracting fans to the various stadiums, although it is true that there was a reduction of 21,747 spectators from last season for Premier League matches, this year’s total compared well with the total number of spectators in season 2007/08 – when another general election took place. This year’s total was 98,154 compared to the 98,028 of 2007/08. In the past four years, the total number of spectators always exceeded the 120,000.
Attendances for the BOV First, Second and Third Divisions were also more or less on the same level as season 2007/08.
The clubs’ share of gates in the last three years of the previous administration was €76,729 in 2007/08; €115,048 in 2008/09; and €189,422 in 2009/10 for a total of €381,199; €342,028 in 2010/11 and €349,441 in 2011/12 for a total of €897,158 in the last three years. The club’s income from gate money increased thanks to the incentives given by the association. He said the association managed to turn the situation from one where clubs in Divisions 1, 2 and 3 registered losses in league matches to one where clubs earned money. In fact, First Division clubs earned €70,000 in the last three years compared to a loss of 17,000 in the previous three years. Second Division clubs earned a total of €50,000 in the past three years compared to a loss of €30,000 in previous three years. Clubs in the Third Division reduced the losses to €12,000 in the past three years compared to a loss of €27,000 in the previous three years.
Vassallo announced that works are currently underway at a number of venues. Works at the Victor Tedesco Stadium which include the replacement of the artificial turf pitch should be completed by October, works o the main stand of the Hibernians Stadium and new dressing rooms should be completed by November while a new artificial turg pitch is being laid at the Luxol Stadium. Other works are being carried out at the Gozo Stadium.
The MFA CEO thanked match officials for the services rendered and revealed that this season, there will be more games with the additional assistant referees. In order to prepare for the coming season, referees will be going for a training camp in Hungary next month.
Photos (3 and 4) courtesy of Bank of Valletta
He also thanked those involved in the game – players, technical staff, club officials, ground staff and supporters.
Vassallo finally thanked BOV Chief Officer Michael Galea and the bank for their continuous support and said that BOV’s financial assistance is helping clubs grow. He said that the MFA and BOV are looking towards opportunities with a different approach.
Michael Galea said this was the ninth year of sponsorship of the MFA National Leagues by Bank of Valletta. The bank saw this partnership agreement as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility as the game offered youths a healthy environment where they could fully develop.
He finally hoped the various leagues will one again be exciting and entertaining for all.
Meanwhile in the BOV First Division, Ħamrun Spartans, who have just been relegated from the Premier League will face Żejtun Corinthians in their first match. Melita, who were also relegated, take on St. George’s who were promoted from Division 2. BOV Second Division champions Żebbuġ Rangers will be facing another promoted side Żurrieq. The other matches for Day 1 are Lija Athletic vs Birżebbuġa St. Peter’s, Msida St. Joseph vs St. Andrews, Gudja United vs Marsaxlokk and Gżira United vs Pietà Hotspurs.
The BOV First Division League will kick-off on September 13 and will come to an end on April 27. The league, which as from this season, will feature fourteen teams will be played on the usual two-round basis with each club playing twenty-six matches for a total of 182 matches. Two teams will be promoted to the Premier League and three teams will be relegated to the Second Division.
Matches will be played: one on Friday, two on Saturday and four on Sunday. On some occasions, four matches will be played on Saturday and two on Sunday.
Venues for the BOV First Division will be the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Centenary Stadium and Luxol Stadium.
Click images for match sequence
The BOV Second Division will feature once again fourteen clubs. It will kick-off on September 13 and come to an end on April 19. The league will be played on the usual two-round basis with each club playing twenty-six matches for a total of 182 matches. Three teams will be promoted to the First Division and three teams will be relegated to the Third Division.
Matches will be played: one on Friday and six on Saturday or Sunday.
Venues for the BOV Second Division will be the Centenary Stadium, Luxol Stadium, Charles Abela Stadium and Sirens Stadium.
Mqabba and Dingli Swallows who were relegated from Division 1 will face Third Division champions Senglea Athletic and Pembroke Athleta respectively. The other promoted sides – Mdina Knights, Marsaskala and Marsa will be playing against Kirkop United, Għargħur and Żabbar St. Patrick respectively. The other matches for Day 1 are Siggiewi vs San Gwann, Mellieħa vs Fgura United.
The BOV Third Division, which will feature thirteen clubs, will kick-off on September 14 and come to an end on April 19. The league will be played on the usual two-round basis with each club playing twenty-four matches for a total of 156 matches. Three teams will be promoted to the Second Division and the two teams who end at the bottom of the table will need to re-apply.
The six matches will be played one week on Saturdays and the following week on Sundays.
Venues for the BOV Third Division will be the Centenary Stadium, Luxol Stadium, Charles Abela Stadium and Sirens Stadium.
The games for Day 1 are Luqa St. Andrew’s vs Xgħajra Tornados, Għaxaq vs Santa Lucia, Sirens vs Mtarfa, Ta’ Xbiex vs Swieqi United, Kalkara vs Attard, Qrendi vs St. Venera Lightnings while Mgarr United will face Luqa St. Andrew’s in their first game.
The BOV Women’s First Division League will be played between September 9 and April 21. Eight teams are taking part in the league which will be split over two phases like last season. Clubs will be playing a total of twenty-games each for a total of eighty games. The bottom two teams will be relegated to the Women’s Second Division.
Games will be usually played on Tuesdays with some matches possibly being played on Mondays.
Matches for Day 1 are: Raiders (Luxol) vs Mosta, Hibernians vs Kirkop United, Gozo vs Mgarr United and Birkirkara vs Pembroke Athleta.
Fixtures for the BOV Women’s Second Division will be held at a later stage.