Inħobb il-Futbol foundation set to be created this year

In his closing speech, at the end of the Malta FA Annual General Meeting, MFA President Bjorn Vassallo said the Inħobb il-Futbol foundation should be set up. This foundation would complement the work of the MFA Technical Centre and focus on grassroots, football in schools and the community, women’s football, Futsal and Beach Soccer.

The MFA President said that just one year ago, while addressing the AGM as newly-elected president, he would have never expected what the world would go through due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that this was due to be the year, the association would be celebrating its 120th anniversary and unfortunately so far, celebrating this milestone as originally planned was not possible but he was not giving up on organising an activity towards the end of the year to mark this important anniversary if possible.

Vassallo praised the sense of maturity of those forming part in the MFA structures, member clubs and member associations, saying that thanks to them, the association was able to take important decisions which were taken in the best interest of the game.

The MFA President said that over the past year, the association started working on the implementation of the manifesto with which he was elected. He said a number of amendments and strategic changes were made in order to kick-start the implementation of the two areas which are of utmost importance: governance and the technical aspect of the game.

Vassallo revealed that by October, the association will have its first Strategy document, written black on white. This is being prepared with the involvement of UEFA and following wide discussions – within the MFA structures and with other partners. He said this strategy would lead the preset objectives in terms of operations and administration being achieved.

He thanked the three vice-presidents for their hard work and dedication and said that they will be assigned to specific matters in order for them to be able to contribute in a more direct manner.

With regards to governance, he said the reform, which was launched in recent weeks, will take thirty months and should be coherent, robust, functional and more credible in order to be able to offer and attract better opportunities which make the football sector more sustainable and efficient.

The MFA President said that right from the start, one of his main objectives was that the national teams do better. This was only possible with a long-term plan. He said that as regards the three projects related to the technical area, one had been launched, another one is close to being launched and the other one – the project of a professional club playing in the Italian Serie C – had to be delayed due to the current circumstances.

Vassallo said that now the national teams now share the same football philosophy which gives us an identity based on the characteristics of our players. The association invested in specialised resources and established important targets in this regard as the association believes we could do better if we follow the plans devised by experts. we must work in coordination for a single objective. He stressed on the importance of building from the bottom up, support and sustain this work through all the resources available so that the legacy of this mandate and others will be to see Malta win.

Complementing the work of the Technical Centre, will be the creation of the Inħobb il-Futbol foundation. The MFA President said this will be a year of transition so that the responsibilities of the Youth FA would be transferred to the foundation in order to implement a strategy based on performance through an established framework. The foundation will focus on wider participation, the development of a player from the grassroots to elite football and on whatever is needed for the protection of the player to coach education.

With regards to the relationship with the government, the Association believes that with some assistance, the association could carry out a number of projects from which not only football would benefit but the community as a whole. He said football was a contributor and could provide an important economic return and also the feel good factor which is of utmost importance in times of anxiety and uncertainty.

Vassallo concluded by saying that the association remains fully committed to its social mission but not at the expense of the technical aspect which must be the main yardstick for the association’s work