The Malta Football Association’s plans for the growth of Maltese football and the government’s commitment to strengthen the sports sector were the main topics of discussion during an official visit by Prime Minister Robert Abela to the Association’s offices on Friday.
In his speech, Dr Abela said that the sporting values that lie at the heart of football, namely fair play, integrity and dedication, should also be reflected in our society.
Dr Abela, whose father George served as President of the Malta FA between 1982 and 1992, reiterated the government’s commitment towards sports. He welcomed the projects and initiatives being implemented by the Malta FA as part of its long-term strategic programme, adding that these are in sync with those of the government.
“We are committed to maintaining and strengthening this synergy with the Malta Football Association and other sports associations,” the Prime Minister said. “Having a healthy and active society is a priority for the government and sports is central to all this.”
Bjorn Vassallo, the Malta FA President, spoke about football’s ability to inspire and unite.
“In football, there are no obstacles but rather one common language,” he said. “For us, football unites and therefore we say, with a very strong conviction, that our country needs football.
“In this context, when the government invited local sports associations to put forward their strategic plans, we heeded the call and presented an eight-year plan encompassing all levels, from elite football to the social aspect.”
The Malta FA President explained the technical projects, initiatives and reforms being undertaken by the Association to raise the standards of Maltese football, stressing that the government’s support is crucial for the success of such projects. He highlighted the multitude of benefits, social and financial, generated by football (SROI), focusing on three main areas – infrastructure, social responsibility and sports tourism.
During the visit to the Malta FA premises at the National Stadium, Dr Abela met the Association’s employees and was shown around the facilities, including the museum, which will be inaugurated in the coming months, the new efootball studio, the Centenary Stadium and the Training Grounds.
The Malta FA delegation for the meeting with the Prime Minister also comprised Dr Angelo Chetcuti, the General Secretary, Vice-Presidents Ludovico Micallef, Dr Matthew Paris and Adrian Casha, and Treasurer Ivan Mizzi.
Dr Abela was accompanied by Dr Owen Bonnici, the Minister for Education and Employment, Dr Clifton Grima, the Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sport and Voluntary Organisations, and Dr Frank Fabri, the Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Education.