The Malta Football Association sees the law on the commercialisation of sports facilities as a great opportunity which both the association and clubs cannot afford to lose and the MFA has already earmarked five projects which could be built on its footprint at Ta’ Qali over the coming years. This was revealed by MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo in the concluding speech of the Annual General Meeting at the Grand Hotel Excelsior on Saturday.
The first project would be that of constructing a National Football School, on the same lines of the National Sports School, and the relocation of the MFA Technical Centre. Darmanin Demajo revealed that in a meeting with Minister for Education and Employment Evarist Bartolo, they discussed the possibility of a partnership between the government and the MFA. The MFA President said the National Sports School was a success story and the government agreed to build a second school which would be entirely dedicated to football and which would be built at Ta’ Qali. He said this would be one of the biggest breakthroughs in the development of the game in Malta. Darmanin Demajo thanked the Minister and the government for their commitment and a memorandum of understanding will be signed shortly.
The other projects will be those of the construction of spectator stands for the MFA Training Grounds, the construction of a new Futsal hall and parking area instead of the current parking area in front of the West Stand and the redevelopment of both the North and South Stands at the National Stadium.
In his introduction, Norman Darmanin Demajo said that the AGM was not only meant to report what had occurred over the previous season but was an opportunity to share his ideas. He said that each organisation had to have a strategic plan and his duty as president was to set the agenda.
One area of concern was amateur and grassroots football, especially futsal and women’s football. He said one had to review non-league football and see how the association can assist this sector. The MFA had the responsibility of not only the top clubs but all sectors including amateur football. He said that in the same manner that the FA Trophy was now open for participation for Gozitan clubs, this could also be extended to non-league clubs. Darmanin Demajo revealed that the association was close to reaching a sponsorship agreement for next two years for the FA Trophy.
The MFA President admitted that plans to having a number local players moving abroad to play on a professional players failed to materialise. Possible reasons for this was the lack of self discipline and resilience and the difficulty to settle in a difficult environment. He said that the MFA should analyze this situation and maybe set up a support unit to help these players and make it easier for them to settle down while abroad.
Another area of concern was the lack of administrators at club level. He said older administrators are calling it a day and finding good administrators was always being more difficult. He said this problem needed to be addressed, also considering that stakes were now much higher for administrators and that it was stressful and demanding to be an administrator. The courses which kick-off in September will be the first step.
With regards to the commercialisation of sports facilities, the MFA President said that it was up to the clubs to invest or attract investors in the same way that the MFA is looking at all its footprint and thinking about what it could do with it.
Norman Darmanin Demajo said the association needed the best human resources possible. He said that these need not necessarily be the best people in their areas but they had to have the passion and motivation and be ready to be part of the administration which the current administration managed to bring together. He said the MFA had managed to obtain funds in order to finance courses for continuous professional development.
The MFA President revealed that the association is considering separating commercial activities from governance with the set-up of a limited liability company for this reason.
“Feel part of the association: our success is your success. We all chose football. The best is yet to come,” concluded Darmanin Demajo.