The short answer is yes; football is the most popular sport in Malta. But why is the best place for football and footballers to thrive?
You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone in Malta who hasn’t played football, currently plays, or is an avid fan. The Maltese people love sports of all kinds, but football has a firm grip – in fact, sport is integrated deep into the culture there too.
Football is played almost everywhere in Malta. You’ll find it in schools for sport, in recreational playgrounds, local teams, on beaches, and on the official pitch too.
The History of Football in Malta
The Malta Football Association was created in the mid-19th century when Malta was under British rule. Interestingly enough, the sport was fairly new to England, too – with troops playing it as a way to wind down and relax. When soldiers were stationed in Malta, they would play football around the barracks.
It was in 1863 that The Football Association formed, and that is when regulations and rules were implemented and turned a ‘kick about’ into the sport we know today and until 1909 football wasn’t played in the scheduled format that we have today.
The first championship that took place in Malta was between 1909-1910, and the championship was won by Floriana. The league wasn’t steady at this point. New teams arrived, some left, administrators left, and teams left too.
During the second world war, there was a break in play, but football started up again by 1945, and in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, there were more clubs taking an interest and joining.
Now the league has a little over 50 clubs, and the championship trophy is called the Maltese Premier League.
Who Are The Most Popular Maltese Football Clubs?
Somehow, every country that enjoys football will have a specific UK team that they like. For example, Tom Hanks loves Aston Villa. The Maltese are no different; one of the most popular football clubs that the people of Malta support are Manchester United!
International football is massively popular in Malta, and just like many other countries, the people of Malta wage a bet using applications when picking which of their favorite teams are going to win.
Here are some of the most supported clubs in Malta:
- Manchester United (having the oldest supporters club outside the UK)
When it comes to home teams, Valletta FC has the biggest fan base.
Why is football so popular in Malta?
The history of football in Malta dates all the way back to the mid-19th century, so it is something that modern-day fans have had around for many years. Since its early introduction, football has increased in popularity – and with Malta a part of the EU, they can take part in the biggest tournaments in football. The national team has seen the final stages of the World cup too.
Aside from the long history of football in Malta, there are several other reasons that it is the most popular sport.
Unlike some other sports, football provides a great outlet for a competitive spirit. Football is super entertaining for players and fans alike – because the ultimate combination of sportsmanship and competitiveness comes into play. Watching your team outperform others and take home a win or a trophy is brilliant.
If you love football, aside from your nation’s teams, you can watch teams from other countries and cities all over the world. It is a great form of entertainment to watch with friends and family. It is social, too; you can go to a local bar and cheer with the rest of the fans.
Even a top-tier team can have an off day, and those predicted to win might lose. It means that it is unpredictable and exciting.
The rules of the game are simple – even if you have never played, you can get the gist of the game just by watching for a few minutes. It is due to that simplicity that it is easy to place bets with friends or on your favorite betting site.
Malta As The Base of Sports Betting
Malta has been the capital for sports betting and casinos for many years; almost all the big names in betting will choose to have their operations come from Malta.
The MGA, Malta Gaming Authority, stated that they had seen incredible success for their online gambling due to the 2004 gaming regulations – which meant that sports betting and casino websites were able to operate under clear guidelines.
Online gambling contributed a huge 13.6% of the value of the Maltese economy in 2019, and that is a huge influx of cash for the country.
Gambling and sports betting have become an integral part of the economy and is a match made in heaven considering the deep love of many sports – specifically football in Malta.
When it comes to employment, Malta has salaries for online casino gaming jobs between 22,000 and 60,000 euros per year, combined with Malta’s low cost of living – this is a great salary. What is brilliant is that there has been a recorded increase of 11% year on year.
Football and sports betting are the perfect matches, so while the love of the sport might just be on the pitch for many fans, the income for the country from sports betting, the economy, and employment are making a positive impact too!