Despite the impression that attendance for domestic matches were dwindling, there was an overall increase of 9.63% in attendances for the BOV Premier League, BOV First Division, BOV Second Division, BOV Third Division and the U*BET FA Trophy during the last speaking.
While addressing a press conference before the draws of the BOV First, Second and Third Division Leagues, MFA Chief Executive Officer Bjorn Vassallo said the past season had all the ingredients of what makes a league interesting and exciting. He explained that attendance for Premier League matches increased by 9.23%, for First Division matches by 14%, for Second Division matches by 1.3% and for Third Division matches by 33.4%.
The total attendance for BOV Premier League matches was 108,275 while for the BOV First, Second and Third Division matches, attendances were around 20,000, 10,000 and 7,000 spectators respectively.
Photo courtesy of Bank of Valletta
Attendances were highest during the months of August and September when the leagues kick-off and there is a thirst for competitive matches and also during the months of March and April when the various leagues reach their climax.
As regards gate-money, there was in increase of 23% for Premier League clubs, a reduction of 26% for First Division clubs, a 112% reduction for Second Division clubs and a 217% increase for Third Division clubs. Among Premier League clubs, Valletta, Birkirkara and Sliema Wanderers took the biggest chunk of gate-money.
For the second consecutive season, no clubs lost money considering the income from gate-money and sponsorships.
Vassallo said the association will continue to cover expenses related to match-officials and venues while controlling expenditure on match operations in order to maximise revenue for clubs from matches.
The MFA CEO stressed that the association will continue to fight match fixing by raising awareness as he believes that education was the best tool. From two hundred and seventy-six matches from the BOV Premier League, the BOV First Division and the U*BET FA Trophy which were monitored by live scouts, only eleven were flagged. This was considerably better than the thirty-eight matches which were flagged out of a total of 273 matches the previous season.
Bjorn Vassallo said that over the past months, the reform of the Premier League was analysed and discussed with all stakeholders. Various options were presented to the Premier League Clubs Standing Committee and the new format featuring three rounds, with points being halved at the end of the second round was agreed upon. The Council then voted in favour of this format.
The new format will feature thirty-three match days with matches being played at three different venues – the National Stadium, the Victor Tedesco Stadium and the Hibernians Stadium.
Vassallo said that the third phase of works at the Victor Tedesco Stadium is nearing completion while works at the Hibernians Stadium are well-underway. Works are currently taking place on the stands, the media area and the restricted zone and dressing rooms.
Bank of Valletta Chief Officer Michael Galea said that it was a pleasure him to be there for the tenth consecutive season of collaboration between BOV and the MFA. Galea said the bank’s objective through this sponsorship was to make the game more popular while providing more opportunities for youths. He said that BOV is committed to supporting activities in the community which provide a good environment for youths and opportunities for the community.