Bjorn Vassallo: “This is a clear signal that the MFA and its members are favour in long-term stability”

MFA President Bjorn Vassallo was speaking in his concluding speech at the Extraordinary General Meeting of the Malt Fotball Association which was held at the Dolmen Hotel in Qawra on Monday during which the new statute of the association was unanimously approved.

Vassallo said that with its newly-launched strategy, the association wanted to promote new style of administration based on a number of fundamental principles: democracy, sports justice, licensing requirements and financial fair play, investment in the game and the promotion of accountability and transparency. This is all part in the reform in governance achieved thanks to members the association will be implementing.

He said that this is only the first step, next in line is the reform in club licencing and then corporate restructuring 

The MFA president said that these had been months of analysis, consultation, discussions, the need for amendments in some cases and others where the association stood strong.

“Maturity, and the love for the association and football in Malta, prevailed. Interest in football won as we had one objective – that football improve at all levels, protecting the game with ethics and integrity.”

“What I had proposed, before the election is 2019, was part of the strategic document which has now what has been approved.”

“We gave a clear signal that the MFA and its members, and all those involved, are favour in long-term stability,” said the MFA President who said the MFA will change the way how to consult and decide. “

“This process is not only linked to statutory matters but also to objectives mentioned in our strategy. 2021 will therefore be remembered for these two milestones – the launch of the first ever MFA strategy and the approval of a new statute.”

“I believe the whole package would strengthen how we work on a day-to-day basis. Malta will be an example of strong principles of governance.”

Vassallo said that Council of the Malta Football Association had started in the World War II aftermath as the association tried to reorganise itself. Eugenio Bonello, who served as general secretary of the Malta Football Association and later as president, wrote the first “rule book” of the association.

He added that three prominent lawyers who served as MFA Presidents, namely Dr Giuseppe Mifsud Bonnici (1968-1982), Dr George Abela (1982-1992) and Dr Joe Mifsud (1992-2010) continued to improve the statute throughout the years.

“The Malta Football Association is now re-writing history, replacing the Council with an extended Executive Board which includes all representatives of the football family, including the associations representing coaches and players. This was a courageous step at the right time for the good of the game.”

“I would like to express my satisfaction for the consistency and versatility of the MFA, who despite the pandemic, overcame the challenges as a united team. Today’s approval of the new statute is a win, in sporting terms, which modernises the regulatory framework of football in Malta,” concluded MFA President Bjorn Vassallo.

MFA vice-president Dr Matthew Paris said the new statute is only one of a number of reforms undertaken by the association following the reform of the technical centre and the introduction of the code of ethics which was of utmost importance as all members of the Executive Committee have been scrutinised and deemed fit. Further reforms which will take place in the coming months include club licensing and eventually the club restructuring.

Dr Paris said that “Months of consultation were needed so that we could understand what we need so that we have the statute we needed, including FIFA and UEFA requirements.”

“The way decisions are taken is changing. The reality is changing. We will have more autonomy but there will be larger scrutiny.”

“We achieved this thanks to the maturity of all those involved. We understood the need to change. This is a big change which will mean a new start for the association and a new start for football in Malta,” concluded Dr Paris.

MFA General Secretary Dr Angelo Chetcuti, who together with Dr Matthew Paris, wrote the actual statute explained in detail the various sections from the new statute. Read more

Meanwhile Laura Dijak from the FIFA Members Associations division said that the approval of the new statute of the Malta Football Association was the latest in a series of football associations who had approved new statutes over the past weeks and said she hoped this would be another “fruitful and smooth experience.”

Dijak spoke of the significant changes in the new MFA statute which will see an increased participation of interest groups in the association. She added that she was happy to see more involvement of female representatives, including a female Vice President which, she said, is “a very progressive move by the Malta Football Association.”

“For FIFA, this is a good starting point for a more advanced and democratic MFA.”

Yann Hafner from the UEFA Integrity and Regulatory Division said the new MFA statute will give a solid base for the future of Maltese football. Hafner also spoke about the launch of the MFA strategy earlier this year and stressed that UEFA is there to support associations.