The Malta Football Association is setting up a consultative body to address health matters and protocols in view of the evolving scenarios and challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The responsibilities and objectives of this consultative body, which is made up of experts from different fields, including medical, public safety and football operations, were discussed by the Malta FA Executive Committee on Wednesday. The Malta FA is also reaching out to the Government to be part of this forum.
The COVID-19 situation is under constant review in view of this month’s matches from the UEFA club competitions, which will be played behind closed doors, the national teams’ commitments, which are due to resume in the first week of September, and the domestic competitions which are also scheduled to kick off next month.
The Malta FA had drawn up a detailed health and safety protocol for the potential resumption of the 2019-20 domestic competitions behind closed doors and such protocol can be adjusted in accordance with the medical directives and requirements established by the health authorities as well as UEFA’s Return to Play Protocol.
The first-round fixtures of all the national championships organised by the Malta FA will be published later this month together with the health and operational protocols. To this end, there is an ongoing discussion within the Association’s structures on the sustainability of these onerous protocols, especially for the matches in the lower divisions as well as youth football.
Given the fluctuating COVID-19 situation, the Executive Committee has decided that the clubs’ season tickets will not be issued this season.
SOCIO-ECONOMIC FEASIBILITY STUDY
At the Executive Committee meeting, the first for season 2020-21, the members were given details of an ongoing socio-economic study on the commercialisation of clubs’ facilities. The Malta FA has appointed a leading economist to oversee this feasibility study which involves feedback from six clubs who have presented project proposals to commercialise their facilities.
The study will delve into different aspects, including capital expenditure and the economic benefits, especially in terms of attraction of young players, development of players and sports tourism.
The Malta FA has also initiated a process to categorise all prospective stadia hosting competitive matches into three main groups.
The committee conducting this exercise will establish minimum requirements for these stadia, based on different criteria. A questionnaire will be sent to all clubs whose football grounds and stadiums are used for Malta FA matches followed by technical compliance assessments.
This process doesn’t apply to UEFA-certified stadia, namely the National Stadium, the Centenary Stadium and the Gozo Stadium.
The Malta FA has been promoted from bronze to silver level in UEFA’s grassroots classification.
This positive development has come about thanks to the Association’s ongoing projects and efforts to increase participation at grassroots level as reflected by the participation data provided by the Malta FA through COMET, the Association’s football management system.
Ivan Woods has been appointed Grassroots Manager within the Association’s technical sector.
Woods, a former Malta international player, holds a UEFA A Coaching Licence and is currently following the UEFA PRO Coaching Course being organised by the Malta FA. He also has a Master’s Degree in Performance Coaching from Stirling University.
The Malta FA has been selected to take part in an innovative programme created by UEFA and Disney targeting girls aged five to eight currently not playing football.
UEFA and Disney have teamed up to develop “Playmakers” a ground-breaking football programme that uses Disney’s world-renowned storytelling to encourage more young girls to exercise regularly and kickstart a lifelong love of football.
It is envisaged that the Malta FA will introduce “Playmakers” through schools, clubs and local communities in March, 2021.