Bjorn Vassallo appeals for unity

Bjorn Vassallo urged for unity in a speech at the end of the Annual General Meeting of the Malta Football Association on Saturday.

Vassallo said that this journey had started in 2006 when he had approached Norman Darmanin Demajo to run for the election of MFA President. He said that after being elected to the post in 2010, he had held on to his principles.

The new MFA President said he was honoured to be elected to the post of president of the largest association on the island.

“I would like to thanked those who voted me in and also those who participated in the vote. Football has won today. I am a football man and you are the football people – the ones who give life to football in towns and villages. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

“Every election brings a bit of division but after the election, unity is of utmost importance. As from Monday, we need to work together to reach our objectives and move forward for the progress of the Maltese game.”

He concluded by thanking those who supported him over the past weeks and thanked Dr Chris Bonett for his contribution.

Earlier while being interviewed by the media, Vassallo said that after being elected to the post of MFA President, this would be in a clear conflict with his current position at FIFA and therefore he would be informing FIFA President Gianni Infantino that he would resigning from the post.

As regards his promise to form a Maltese team to take part in the Italian Serie C, the new MFA President said that contacts has already been established and the association would be working on the project which should help the national team achieve better results.

Meanwhile in his closing address, outgoing president Norman Darmanin Demajo thanked all the MFA staff, saying it was a blessing to work with them for the past nine years. He thanked all those who sent me messages, thanking them for the kind words. He went on to thank vice-presidents Ludovico Micallef, Dr Matthew Paris, Alex Manfre and former vice-president Carmelo Bartolo and treasurer Ivan Mizzi for helping him achieve his programme. Darmanin Demajo thanked general secretary Dr Angelo Chetcuti “who very unselfishly and at short notice, was asked to leave his job at the European Parliament and join the Association.” He thanked him for his support.

Norman Darmanin Demajo thanked FIFA and UEFA as “their assistance programmes are vital for the Association.”

“In football, we have a choice. It’s either to be on the outside – criticise, which is easy, especially nowadays through social media. This is the choice of the large majority. Others preferred to take the less popular route and work in beautiful game. Football administration is not easy. Thanks for keeping footballl alive.”

Darmanin Demajo concluded with an inspirational quote by Theodore Roosevelt.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt – The Man in the Arena