MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo announced that the Malta Football Association needed to start thinking about giving something back to the community, saying that it will be supporting organisations like the Community Chest Fund and Puttinu Cares, while addressing the association’s Annual General Meeting which was held on Tuesday at the Grand Hotel Excelsior, Floriana.
Darmanin Demajo said this was the end of the fourth year, of the current administration, which brought to an end the chapter which saw the administration focus on what was the main priority – the development of infrastructure. He said this was the biggest challenge and four years later, almost all clubs have adequate training facilities. Thanks to this project, the association laid a solid foundation at grassroots level which in his opinion was a remarkable achievement.
The MFA President said that to continue the revolution that the current administration had started four years ago, the association now had to invest more in its infrastructure. He said that at Ta’ Qali, the MFA was sitting on a good footprint which could be developed thanks to partnerships or sponsors. This plan would enable the association to maximise its income by making full use of this footprint which would therefore enable it to have an even more solid financial basis. Darmanin Demajo said that football and commercialisation cannot be kept apart, both at the level of the clubs and at the association.
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One aspect where Darmanin Demajo would like to see further improvement, especially at club level, was coach education. He said that although continued professional development was being provided at the MFA Technical Centre, he felt that in coaching, there was still a lot to be done. The MFA President insisted that clubs needed to invest more in sport science technologies, pointing out that nowadays, it was all about player development and not winning the game. By improving the level of coaches, the game would improve. The association will be doing its part by investing more in the MFA Technical Centre, if necessary.
Darmanin Demajo said that following discussions with all stakeholders, the format of the association’s elite competition – the Premier League – was changed. He said that although he personally would preferred seeing a format with play-offs, he respected the majority’s opinion to retain the halving of points at the end of the second round but at least the Championship Pool and Relegation Pool were scrapped. He said the new format should increase interest and competition.
The format was not the only deciding factor – one had to consider financial fair play, players’ transfer regulations, the transmission of live Premier League matches, season tickets, match day hospitality and sponsorships. Darmanin Demajo stressed that courageous decisions had to be taken, urging clubs to get out of the comfort zone and appealed for the clubs’ backing, saying that it would be for the good of the game.
The MFA President said that football had a unique power to bring people together and provide them with indescribable emotions. He said that the football community needed to start thinking about giving something back to the community – supporting initiatives which reach the community.
He announced the set-up of a Football Social Reponsibility committee which will undertake and support such initiatives. He praised work done by the Community Chest Fund and Puttinu Cares which he described as ‘national medical insurance policies’. Ticket prices for Premier League and First Division matches as from the coming season will be increased by €1 which will go directly to the Football Social Responsibility fund. The association will also contribute directly to this fund. Darmanin Demajo said by doing so the association would be setting the right example.
Meanwhile before his speech, Darmanin Demajo presented a memento to Mellieha SC president Alfred Vella Borg who has been serving in the committee for the past 50 years.
Joseph Farrugia, former Council Member of Zejtun Corinthians and Marsa, will be proposed as Honorary Member of the Malta Football Association after serving for thirty years, including twenty-five years as Council Member. Joseph Cassar Naudi will also be proposed as Honorary Member for serving the game for the past sixty-nine years, first as referee and then as official.
President Emeritus Dr George Abela will be appointed Honorary President of the Malta Football Association.
Present for the MFA Annual General Meeting was outgoing FIGC President Giancarlo Abete and the FIGC Officer in charge of International Relations Sergio Di Cesare.