Bjorn Vassallo points out the positive aspects despite difficulties due to COVID-19

In his closing speech at the Malta Football Association’s Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, MFA President Bjorn Vassallo

Vassallo said that a year ago, we were hoping that the pandemic would be a matter of a few more months but one year later, the world is still experiencing a medical emergency leading to a severe health and humanitarian crisis that has changed the world.

“I wanted to be here today to talk only about how much positive we have managed to do together during months of continuous challenge at all levels, sports, administrative and even in the organization of various events and activities, but this not the case, because the pandemic caused too much social and economic damage.”

The MFA President said that during this financial year the MFA registered under the Voluntary Organization Act and therefore the accounts for the first time are being presented according to the IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) standards. He said that this also further points to the MFA’s approach to better governance and more transparency. He said that Monday’s Extraordinary General Meeting “will change today’s MFA to a more modern, functional, open and efficient MFA.”

“My idea before I was elected President was that the MFA would increase its revenues to be able to extend the operation and invest in the most significant objective ….. namely in technical aspect and development by improving the level of the domestic game, performance and results in international matches. This started being implemented as soon as I was elected. It was the very first months that led us to agree on a strategy, the first for Maltese football, with clear objectives where everyone could then know where we are and where we want to go. But what no one knew at the time was that the COVID-19 issue would break out and that it would disrupt all our plans,” said Vassallo.

The MFA President said that the association did everything possible to keep each club or member association afloat albeit with various regulatory modifications.

“Finally the strategy was launched and we started the hard work to start this transformation for Maltese football in the hardest and most uncertain time in the 120 years of history. Over the course of the last few months, we always found you behind us, following us and filling us with the courage to continue in our mission to change the game of football, the structures and the system that sustain it.”

Vassallo admitted that due to COVID-19, during the period from April 2020 to March this year, MFA registered a loss of more than €1.5 million, despite the financial assistance received from FIFA through the COVID Relief Fund as otherwise the loss would have been greater. He said that as the Treasurer had pointed out, the measures taken so far have been minimal but the MFA does not rule out having to reconsider its position if things get worse and the authorities impose new restrictions.

“I would therefore like to reiterate that leadership is vital in these times, including the responsibilities that come with it, in order to safeguard your position where expenditure reflects what you are able to generate. It is imperative that everyone thinks of a contingency plan because the effects have started to be felt on everyone and the Association will not be in a position to assist further due to the fact that liquidity is already tight. Thus, everyone must consider carefully before entering into obligations that may increase suffering in an already hostile period,” stressed MFA President Bjorn Vassallo.

Vassallo went on to highlight some of the positive aspects of the past year and in particular the results obtained by the national teams.

“I think this year has been one that has given us important satisfactions on the pitch especially at the level of the men’s national team as well as the women’s. The jump in world rankings reflects all this and progress has not come by chance. We have invested and invested well in technical projects. I never remember the national team imposing milestones unless for some match against some big opponent and do well. What we saw in the UEFA Nations League was a wonderful experience that brought a whole country together. If we work together on the plan to improve and give the best conditions and coaching to our players, we will be able to produce and respond with constant performances and results instead of just one-offs.”

“We have seen the same at the Women’s level, gaining points that we have never achieved in the history of women’s football and so this shows that we are on the right track and if Association and Clubs continue to help each other in coordination. and each other’s needs, then persuaded and confident that we can continue to show remarkable progress in performances and results.”

“The vision is clear and has a motivational effect on everyone. Despite all these challenges, energy and enthusiasm are felt in MFA, there is more commitment and the change we have longed for in our football is being nurtured. We must continue to be persistent and make sacrifices today to win tomorrow. I am motivated and I ask you to be like me and like my fellow officials to achieve what we are working for because we have a responsibility to be so.”

The MFA President said the association will continue to seek more support from the government and governmental entities and thanked the Prime Minister and the Ministers concerned for their support so far. He added that the relationship with both FIFA and UEFA is very good.

“All in all, I am satisfied that despite the opposition of a pandemic and the problems with the premature termination of the leagues, we managed to close another year where essential capital projects were carried out and where everyone is bringing the interest of Maltese football to the fore. not his or her personal position or any other agenda that contradicts the will of the majority in the Association,” concluded Vassallo.