Season 2022-23 was a very challenging one for the Malta Football Association, especially from a logistical point-of-view, but the outcomes have been very positive, culminating in the successful organization of the UEFA Under-19 European Championship earlier this month.
Presenting the Administrative Report for season 2022-23 during the ongoing General Assembly at the Dolmen Hotel, Dr. Angelo Chetcuti, the Malta FA General Secretary, provided an insight into the myriad of projects, initiatives, activities, and work carried out across the various sectors of the Association.
“While the high-profile events, especially the two home qualifiers against Italy and England, and the EURO U-19, are probably the first things that come to mind, it’s also pertinent to highlight the immense work done behind the scenes,” Dr Chetcuti said.
“We are so immersed in the multitude of activities, projects, and initiatives that we don’t even realize the extent of work being done over the course of the season. In saying this, I wish to express my appreciation to all those who contribute to all these events and activities, most of the time away from the limelight. As we look back on all our activities and various areas of work during the season, with all the pros and cons, there is a sense of satisfaction at the outcomes and their positive impact.”
On a competitive level, between seniors, youths, women, and junior competitions, around 2,400 matches were played last season. The planning and administration of these matches give an indication of the commitment required.
Beyond the customary administrative duties, the Malta FA continued to invest in educational opportunities for its staff members, administrators, and matchday personnel who participated in a range of courses, from the annual Certificate in Football Administration to other sessions on basic first aid and the use of AED.
Season 2022-23 also brought significant changes from a regulatory aspect, including club licensing matters and the new composition of the National Leagues which will come into effect in season 2024-2025.
Annual events that were negatively impacted by the Covid pandemic, notably the Malta FA Awards, returned while the 2022 BOV Super Cup was staged for the first time in Gozo.
Speaking about the work in the grassroots sector, particularly the Inħobb il-Futbol Foundation, Dr Chetcuti said: “It was another fruitful year for the Foundation which, under the guidance of its Board, is in the midst of a gradual process to gain more autonomy. However, we are already seeing tangible results from the IFF activities with the implementation of key projects such as the Regional Football Hubs, projects in schools, futsal and girls’ football.”
Another ambitious project, namely the construction of a National Centre of Football at the Ta’ Qali Training Grounds, is well in progress along with the completion of several other infrastructural projects at the club level.
UEFA U-19 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP
In the space of four months, the Malta FA successfully hosted the EURO 2024 qualifiers against Italy (March) and England (June) at the National Stadium, with both games played in front of a capacity crowd, and less than three weeks after the England game, the Malta FA organised the UEFA Under-19 European Championship, won by Italy.
“This was a unique event for the Malta FA with a total of 15 games which left a very positive impact on all persons involved – the participating teams, over 20,000 fans who attended the matches, and the same UEFA who had words of praise at the way the Association prepared for and delivered this tournament,” Dr. Chetcuti said.
“Above all, the organization of the UEFA U-19 Championship represents another fulfilled objective from our strategy which serves to further enhance the image of the Association both locally and on an international level. At the same time, it was a great opportunity for our young players to experience competition of the highest level at an early stage of their career pathway.”
Dr. Chetcuti concluded his speech by reiterating his gratitude to the Malta FA staff members and stakeholders for their vital contribution to Maltese football.
“Thanks also to the club administrators and officials,” Dr Chetcuti said. “You experience the constant work carried out by the Malta FA on a daily basis, at your clubs, and with the limited resources you have at your disposal.
“I’m also grateful to my colleagues, the Malta FA officials, for guiding all these efforts.”
The 2022-23 Malta FA Administrative Report was unanimously approved by the General Assembly.