Season 2021/22 started amidst a number of COVID related regulations, however all competitions were completed for the first time in three years.
Presenting the administrative report at the General Assembly at the Dolmen Hotel, Dr Angelo Chetcuti, the General Secretary of the Malta FA, highlighted the unrelenting work carried out by the various departments of the Association over the past 12 months.
REGULATORY AND GOVERNANCE REFORMS
During the past season, extensive regulatory and governance reforms were approved. These included amendments to the licensing regulations, rules governing competitions through which squad lists were put in place.
“The regulatory reforms are part of the seventh pillar of the Malta FA Strategy – Govern and Lead,” Dr Chetcuti said. “They render the decision-making of the Association more balanced and transparent. Changes such as those in club licensing are constantly needed to keep spurring better administrative structures and technical set-up at club level.’
The Malta FA General Secretary expressed his satisfaction at the improvement that the National A team managed in the FIFA Ranking (improved by 7 places in a season). He highlighted that the average age of the players fielded this year went down to 25.8 years, making Malta one of the youngest teams in the UEFA Nations League.
Focusing on the technical aspect which constitutes one of the foremost priorities of the Association’s strategy, the Malta FA General Secretary referred to a number of initiatives that are being taken in this regard.
Other positive points during the season just ended include the ongoing initiatives related to futsal and beach soccer, with the appointment of a National Team Coach in the latter. In eSports, Malta was one win away from making it to Copenhagen and the FIFAe Nations Cup Finals.
THE MALTA FA’S TECHNICAL CENTRE
The Association adapted to the difficult times and continued to follow its plans in the coach education department with courses being carried out online. Nine courses were organised this season with the introduction of two new ones; UEFA C/B combined and a Grassroots Leaders Course. This season 285 new coaches obtained or upgraded their coaching qualification. The Technical Centre issued its first online publication, ‘Raise the Game’, aimed at all licensed and registered coaches.
The Malta FA maintained its drive through the Elite Player Performance Project which is a strength and conditioning programme for a selected pool of players and a specific programme for goalkeepers. This and similar player-focused projects are aimed at better player development and profiling.
During the past season, a total of 624 matches were played in 10 different stadia across the island. All matches were played under COVID-19 protocols. In January, the Malta FA had to postpone its match schedule by two weeks, yet all leagues finished as planned. Towards the end of the season, the Malta FA could re-start organising events aimed at attracting more fans, such as the Fan zone before international and final matches.
Over 4,000 matches were controlled by members of the Malta FA Referee Department during the past season. 17 FIFA Referee officials were confirmed, and they were given 27 international appointments between them. The Refereeing Department in collaboration with the Women’s Football department embarked on a campaign to increase female participation.
Dr Chetcuti explained that ‘another noteworthy event was the securing of NDSF Funding which led to the commencement of works at the National Football Centre in Ta’ Qali’. In the meantime, the Malta FA started implementing a programme to replace member clubs’ artificial football pitches through government funding. Dr Chetcuti said that this continued to cement the second pillar of the Association’s strategy and its commitments in investing in capital projects to increase football infrastructure.
The past season also saw the Association embark on a major rebranding exercise, with a new National Team and Association visual identity unveiled. The rebranding was took place in conjunction with the launch of new home and away kits by Erreà, through participation in UEFA’s Kit Assistance Scheme. The Malta FA has continued to secure new sponsors for the FA Trophy competition and the National Teams.
Throughout last season an online match-centre was also launched, which enables users to get live results from domestic leagues.
The Malta FA General Secretary analysed the administrative year, with its highs and lows, which inevitably indlued a number of setbacks. He concluded his speech by thanking the Association’s officials, employees, clubs and all stakeholders for their commitment and contribution towards Maltese football.