MFA SportsPlus Limited will be hosting more than 15 foreign teams for winter training camps in the early months of 2020.
Bundesliga team FC Augsburg and Belgian Pro League leaders Club Brugge are among the clubs that will be conducting their winter training camp in Malta in the first two weeks of January while three Czech clubs and one from Slovakia will be participating in the second edition of the TipSport Malta Cup in the last week of January.
Details about the upcoming training camps and other related activities were given during a press conference at the Trophies Lounge on Friday.
Dr Angelo Chetcuti, the General Secretary of the Malta FA, said it speaks volumes of the positive results achieved by MFA SportsPlus Limited in just over 18 months that so many teams are using the company’s services to hold training camps in Malta with all the ancillary benefits these bring.
Dr Chetcuti said the Malta FA is constantly looking to increase its revenue streams to be able to re-invest the money in the local game, adding that the work of MFA SportsPlus Limited in the field of sports tourism is contributing towards this aim.
“The support of the Government and the Malta Tourism Authority is very important for these ventures to succeed,” Dr Chetcuti said.
“Good facilities are a must to attract sports teams to hold their training camps in Malta. These events create a ripple effect in terms of economic benefits and can also be the catalyst for greater investment in football facilities.”
Helmut Amhof, representing MFA SportsPlus Limited, announced that a total of 17 teams will be heading to Malta for a winter training camp. These also include the national team of Liechtenstein, the national women’s teams of Switzerland and Turkey, and the Under-21 team of Ukraine.
Most of the visiting teams will also be playing friendly matches, also against Maltese teams, during their stay here. Augsburg and Club Brugge are due to meet in a friendly match at the National Stadum on January 10.
Jason Micallef, Chairman of MFA SportsPlus Limited, explained the company’s plans to further expand its operations in the coming years in line with the vision and strategy of the Malta Football Association, led by President Bjorn Vassallo.
“The goal is to consolidate the work and results attained so far while also expanding the company’s operations by exploring new opportunities and market, also extending to other sports,” Mr Micallef said.
In this context, Mr Micallef added, the experience and expertise of MFA SportsPlus Limited in handling all the logistical aspects of sports events, including travelling, accommodation, transport and all related services, can also be useful for other sports associations and companies, both when hosting events locally and overseas.
Carlo Micallef, Deputy CEO and Chief Marketing Officer of the Malta Tourism Authority, said Malta is a tourism destination all-year round but highlighted the benefits of sports tourism, especially during the lean winter months.
“This is an important niche market for our country, especially during the winter months,” Mr Micallef said.
“We are pleased that more and more football teams are choosing to hold their training camp in Malta. We started this co-operation with Helmut Amhof four years ago and we as MTA remain fully committed to this project, one that benefits not only sports and several stakeholders in the tourism industry but also promotes Malta as a tourist destination.”
LIST OF VISITING TEAMS
Men’s teams – Club Brugge, Augsburg, Honved Budapest, Lech Poznan, Banik Ostrava, Mlada Boleslav, FC Zbrojovka Brno, Dunaksja Streda, Austria Vienna, Stabaek, PSC Academy MLS, Ukraine U21, Liechtenstein.
Women’s teams – SC GOOI Hilversum, Switzerland, Turkey.
Established in 2018 as a joint venture between the Malta Football Association and sports agency SLFC, MFA SportsPlus Limited provides a variety of services mostly related to sports tourism. The company’s core activities include the organisation of training camps for local and foreign teams, both in Malta and abroad, and the handling of all logistical aspects – travelling, accommodation, transport – for local and visiting sports teams as well as sports associations, both incoming and outgoing.