Fourth edition of Tipsport Malta Cup to kick-off next week

The 2022 edition of the Tipsport Malta Cup, which will be played between January 18 and 24 at the National Stadium, Ta’ Qali, will host for the first time four teams from the top divisions of four different countries, namely Aalborg BK of Denmark, FC Spartak Trnava of Slovakia, SK Sigma Olomouc of the Czech Republic and WSG Tirol of Austria. Details were given during a press conference at the Centenary Hall on Thursday.

Speaking on behalf of MFA SportsPlus, Helmut Amhof said since organising this tournament for the first time four years ago, the event has been brought up to a higher level to attract more interest from participants and the media. He said that this was only possible thanks to the support of the sponsors, namely Tipsport who hold the naming rights for the tournament, Visit Malta and the Ministry for Tourism and the Malta Football Association.

Amhof added that this edition was an exciting one due to the participation of four teams from Austrian, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Slovakia – all teams who play in their countries’ top division, some of which are fighting for the domestic title. The tournament will be played on a one-round league basis and all matches will be broadcast live in the respective countries.

Photos: Copyright domenic aquilina

Helmut Amhof said that MFA SportsPlus will continue to work hard in order to take the tournament to an even higher level.

MFA SportsPlus chairman Jason Micallef explained that what the company, which is a joint-venture between the Malta Football Association and one of the leading companies in Austria in the organisation of training camps, has done over the past two years and a half despite all the challenges brought about by the COVID pandemic augurs well for the coming months and years. Micallef said that the partnership with Visit Malta was of utmost importance for the exposure being given to the country through such events. He added that these events are possible thanks to the support given by the Malta FA and in particular by president Bjorn Vassallo.

Jason Micallef revealed that MFA SportsPlus has been entrusted with the coordination of the Athletics Championships of the Small States of Europe in June 2022 and the Games of the Small States of Europe in June 2023 with the latter event due to host a total of 1,600 athletes and officials.

Malta Tourism Authority Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Marketing Officer Carlo Micallef said that back in 2018, he was approached by the organisers of the Tipsport tournament who were on visit in Malta and saw the facilities that Malta had to offer. The tournament organisers and Visit Malta agreed to move the tournament to Malta and the first edition was held in 2019 with three teams taking part. With the involvement of MFA SportsPlus, the tournament grew over the years and this was a clear sign that the organisers were satisfied with the organisation and the facilities.

MIcallef said that sports tourism was a niche market in which there are lots of opportunities to grow. Having such teams for training camps in the months of January, February and March yields good results, not only in terms of the revenue being generated but also in terms of the exposure given to Malta in their countries.

Malta FA President Bjorn Vassallo said that the organisation of such a tournament at this stage was important both for the exposure given to the country and the fact that football activity did not stop despite these challenging times. He added that the association was pro-active by investing in its infrastructure with the upgrade of the training grounds, also thanks to the support from the government. The association, with the help of the national social fund, will be investing millions of euro in the new National Football Centre, following the replacement of the three pitches, which will host the MFA Technical Centre and all the required facilities for training camps and a Category 1 stadium.

Vassallo thanked Minister Clayton Bartolo for his support in order to offer facilities of the highest levels for visiting teams which was of utmost importance considering the competition offered in this sector by other countries in the Mediterranean.

The MFA President said that the national teams have a busy schedule for these coming months and considering that Visit Malta is one of the association’s main partners, these matches would continue to give Malta exposure.

Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Clayton Bartolo said the Tipsport Malta Cup complements the government’s vision to strengthen sports tourism, adding that the timing of the tournament is also beneficial from a tourism perspective as it is held during the shoulder months when incoming tourism is generally low, especially during these challenging times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While expressing his appreciation for the work of MFA SportsPlus Limited, the Malta Football Association and the Malta Tourism Authority, Mr Bartolo said the Tipsport Malta Cup will result in 3,300 bed nights besides generating significant exposure for the country as representatives from forty three media houses are expected to travel to Malta to cover the tournament.

Tuesday 18 January
16:00 Spartak Trnava vs WSG Tirol
20:00 Sigma Olomouc vs Aalborg BK

Friday 21 January
16:00 WSG Tirol vs Aalborg BK
20:00 Sigma Olomouc vs Spartak Trnava

Monday 24 January
12:30 Spartak Trnava vs Aalborg BK
16:30 Sigma Olomouc vs WSG Tirol