Malta FA President Bjorn Vassallo said the association will remain focussed on financial recovery while addressing the General Assembly of the Malta FA which was held on Friday at the Dolmen Hotel in Qawra.
Vassallo said that he was satisfied that the football season ended as originally planned, with all the outcomes being decided on the pitch. He said that overall it was a positive season that also led to the lifting of the restrictions imposed due to the pandemic. He appealed to all to continue responding with concrete measures which would give stability in the long run since the road ahead, in the immediate future, is still tough and full of challenges.
“In fact, last April, at the last General Assembly when we presented the financial statement, we committed to implement a recovery plan for the deficit we suffered due to the medical situation that hit football operations, to be recovered within an acceptable period of time. We did this without cutting on the main projects in the development of the game through the joint effort between the technical center, the Inhobb il-Futbol Foundation and member clubs, even through the academies and the nurseries. In the same way, without cutting on investment in the infrastructure of sports facilities at Ta’ Qali and those run by you. Thanks to the Government, through public funds, we have started a project that assists clubs in replacing pitches in our villages around Malta and Gozo. There is where all sporting activity takes place for the good of children and adults in the community whete they can integrate in an inclusive environment.”
“Following a mid-year review, indicators show that we have had an improvement in revenue streams over what was budgeted, but although at relatively lower levels, we have also seen an increase in expenditure, most of which are related to costs covering the operation of leagues and competitions organized by the MFA and therefore with the financial guarantees in the form of subsidies that the MFA has with the member clubs and associations in relation to the operation of the game. In other sectors, what was estimated for what was spent actually remained at the same level and so we can say that control and alignment were constant and this reaffirms the diligence we are working with. Otherwise the bank would not have trusted us, so much so that a few days ago, we signed a new refinancing plan that would allow for more flexibility in favour of the Association on payments related to investments in past sports infrastructure and loans that the MFA had obtained.”
“However, although the position has started to clear up, it does not mean that we have reached our objectives and we must remain focused to reach the targets approved by this General Assembly a couple of months ago. However, we still made sure to continue assisting member clubs and associations with various schemes that help them with funds from incentives that give added value to the game, both in administration and as well as in the technical aspect, to reflect the overall strategy of the Association.”
The Malta FA President urged clubs to act with the same caution and make sure to safeguard the financial aspect, despite the pressure there could be from some people who could put a club in serious difficulties due to wrong decisions and vanishing, leaving the club in trouble.
“Where there is no sustainability, there can be no spending without limits and without any financial planning because the risk nowadays is big and if the performances and objectives are not achieved, the reward goes to others and you will have to see what to do for the survival of the club.”
Vassallo went on to focus on the concept of solidarity and other principles that lead to competitiveness, which is currently under threat internationally, will also be accepted and introduced at the domestic level as it would strenghten the position of all. He said that these concepts also emerge from the MFA strategy and are based on best practices that have yielded results in other countries and that can also make a difference in Malta.
With regards to the Malta FA strategy which was launched last year, Bjorn Vassallo said that according to reports, there are very positive trends in the progress of the work carried out by the administration and the whole team in the Association together with member clubs and associations. He said that this was also being praised by international institutions for having implemented 20 out of the 39 objectives out of the 8 strategic objectives.
“This shows how productive we have been over the last two years and how much the Maltese and Gozitan football movement wants to continue to improve support for the community and raise its standards at all levels. Today, as we have defined in an advanced and transparent way the direction that should lead us, through processes and procedures that we have officially established, we are always moving towards a more advantageous position to close the gap from others and succeed in our goals,” said Vassallo.
“We need to stay focussed on on all this so that tomorrow we will have a beautiful legacy to talk about while our young people grow into men and women who are able to face life and who as athletes in sport will be able to give us great satisfactions through improved performance and results.”
“We have enough on what to invest our energy on. So we remain compact and united because what we have that unites us and that is common to all of us is the love for the game and the dedication to the club and the association that we represent.”
The Malta FA President said that thanks to the reforms that the assocaition had managed to carry out, “we have a modern Malta Football Association, with structures that ensure independence and autonomy in the decisions taken and above all protected from any external infiltration so that the ideas remain those that have always been based on the mission that this Association has always embraced the 122 years of existence.”
In his conclusion, Bjorn Vassallo stressed that to overcome difficulties, one must choose unity over self-interest. “We have had moments where instead of seeing the facts as they are, instead of being part of the solution, we end up being a hindrance to each other, sometimes even with antagonism that leads nowhere. Challenges will continue to emerge, problems will continue to arise but I am confident that with the changes and all that we will be able to accomplish during this term, the new framework will put football in our country in a more better position.”
“Football has always been a catalyst in reforms and ideas … we have to admit that the last three years have not been easy, but now there is no room for more delays and what the sport was promised as MFA we are doing everything to ensure that it is always implemented in compliance with the regulations and laws in force. This is the moment, as the Government has approved amendments to the subsidiary law governing the commercialisation of sports facilities,” concluded Vassallo.