Bid to host UEFA Under-19 Championship finals in 2024

Malta made a bid to host the UEFA Under-19 Championship finals in 2024. This was revealed by MFA General Secretary Dr Angelo Chetcuti during the Annual General Meeting of the Malta Football Association which was held at the Dolmen Hotel on Wednesday.

If selected, this would be the second time, Malta had hosted a UEFA tournament after hosting the UEFA Under-17 Championship finals in 2014.

Dr Chetcuti said that it was normal for a new president to bring new ideas and that the administration naturally had to align itself with these ideas and priorities. Therefore the organisation had to go through a number of changes in order to reflect the three main sections: football, administration and finance.

The MFA General Secretary said that one of the main priorities was the emphasis on the technical aspect of the game. For this reason, there was an increase in the complement of staff at the MFA Technical Centre. There are new roles, such as that of technical co-ordinator across all national teams.

Particular emphasis will be put on grassroots which should be the foundation of the football pyramid. He said that many used to take it for granted that children would join a nursery to play football but now we need to work hard to attract them to the game. A pilot project for girls in schools was quite a success and now this project will be expanded further. This would also be one of the main priorities of the Inħobb il-Futbol.

With regards to coach education, the second edition of the UEFA Pro Licence course is underway. He added that the association was raising the bar. As from 2021/22, all coaches of Premier League clubs would need to have the UEFA Pro Licence. The requisites for coaching in the other divisions would also be adjusted, depending on the pool of coaches available and the demand. The objective is to improve the level of coaching at all levels.

With regards to administration, there was a shift towards going online: courses, the application for coaching licences, the various forms for clubs, the referees’ online platform.

The national teams now have a partnership with Iterpro, thanks to the national coaches. This software is able to manage the data on all players from the senior national teams to the youths medical, physical, technical, etc

After subsidising the InStat software for technical analysis for the Premier League clubs, this offer will be extended to the Challenge League clubs as from this coming season.

Dr Chetcuti revealed that the MFA has now been recognised as a Voluntary Organisation. He said that the association could now benefit from schemes and offers reserved for voluntary organisations.

The new website for the Malta Football Association will be funded by the FIFA Forward programme. He said it will include a match centre, similar to some of the top football websites, which can be utilised much better. This will also help in reaching out and engaging in a better way with the public

The website is a point of reference for stakeholders with resources. This is part of the idea of moving towards the idea of having a one-stop shop as part of the Football Services department.

The various incentive schemes, namely those reserved for administrators, the youth development pot, guaranteed sum from gate money and facility maintenance, will be renewed.

The change in regulations regarding the status and transfer of players was an important change and one had to understand that clubs are still trying to familiarise themselves with these changes.

Clubs are now obliged to have a first-aider. The association has a contract in place for an AED and its maintenance, in every match venue. A number of free first aid courses were offered so that each club has enough first-aiders to be able to accompany teams on match-day.

The creation of the National Amateur League was another important change – not only for the actual competition but this should help clubs at this level be closer to the community while paving the way for the reform in club licensing due to the streamlining with competitions.

With regards to the Football Social Responsibility in the last three years, the MFA obtained €600K in EU funds. Football was helping the vulnerable through these projects.

Meanwhile in the Election of the Ordinary Members of the Executive Committee of the Association for the year 2020/2021, there was only one election for two seats to represent Member Clubs in general as the number of nominees was equal to the number of vacancies for twelve of the fourteen seats.

Jesmond Abela and Chris Grech were elected after obtaining 54 votes and 51 votes respectively. Dr Peter Fenech obtained 42 votes and Chris Muscat 46 votes respectively.

The Council Members to serve as Ordinary Members of the Executive Committee for 2020/21 are therefore:
Premier Division: Victor Cassar and George Galea
First Division: Joseph Sammut and Stefan Vella
Second Division: Godfrey Borg and Raymond Micallef
Third Division: Robert Camilleri and Cory Greenland
Member Clubs in General: Jesmond Abela, Chris Grech
The Youth Football Association: Joe Micallef
Gozo Football Association: Dr Samuel Azzopardi
Other Member Associations: Francis Muscat and Pio Vassallo

Apart from the amendment focussing on the rules governing competitions following the change from the First Division to the Challenge League and the merger of the Second and Third Division into the National Amateur League, the Executive Committee proposed an adjustment to the composition of the Executive Committee following the creation of the National Amateur League and an adjustment to the pairing of Gozo FA clubs for the purpose of player status, registration and possible compensation.

The composition of the Executive Committee will in principle remain the same, with four members to be elected from amongst Council Members of National Amateur League clubs. Four members shall be elected from amongst the Council Members representing member clubs taking part in the highest two divisions (two per division) and four members to be elected from amongst the Council Members representing the Member Clubs in the National Amateur League. 

For the purpose of player status, registration and possible compensation, GFA First Division clubs will be pegged with Challenge League clubs and GFA Second Division clubs will be pegged with National Amateur League clubs. 

Both amendments were approved.

An amendment proposed by Swieqi United intended to allow the possibility of a Council Member being substituted if unable to attend with the substitute having the status of observer without the power to vote was turned down.