The Malta Football Players Association (MFPA) today launched its Strategy Paper for the period 2023-2026 during a media event at the Corinthia Palace Hotel, Attard.
Having completed the majority of the projects and initiatives earmarked in the two previous position papers, the strategic plan for the next four years is inspired by the Association’s commitment to strengthen its core mission, namely to protect and safeguard the rights and interests of football players based in Malta.
Photo courtesy of Dominic Borg
The strategic plan prioritises five Focus Areas:
• Players’ Health and Wellbeing
• Women In Football
• Services to Players
• Strengthening the Association
“The launch of the new Strategy Paper follows a thorough evaluation of the path and achievements of the Association to date, and the goals set out in the previous paper,” Anthony Galea, President of the MFPA, said.
“While the majority of the projects and initiatives included in the first two position papers have been successfully implemented and issues of paramount importance such as ‘the abolition of transfer fees at the end of a contract’ have been tackled, the work is far from done. The MFPA has come a long way over the past 12 years but there are always new challenges as well as opportunities to move forward. This mindset guides the approach of the MFPA Executive as we are determined and motivated as ever to consolidate the level of support and assistance to football players.”
Over the years, the MFPA’s mission has evolved and expanded to address the athletes’ wellbeing, on and off the pitch. The player cannot be separated from the human and to protect one is to safeguard the other. This priority is at the forefront of our strategy for the next four years to ensure that holistic support is available to all member players.
Key Performance Indicators have been associated with every Focus Area to enable the MFPA to gauge the progress and delivery of the tasks and projects which have been defined following a thorough consultation process with stakeholders, including discussions at MFPA Player Council level and with representatives of players from every division.
“It’s important to set defined targets and the inclusion of KPIs will help us track the progress of our strategic plan,” Dr Galea said. “Our direction is essentially the same as we want to remain very close to the players, also encouraging them to become actively involved in the MFPA as we want to attract new blood to the Association.”
The key points of the five Focus Areas were explained to the media by Carlo Mamo and Mark Barbara, General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary of the MFPA respectively.
MFPA STRATEGY 2023-2026
The Five Focus Areas – Key Points
• One of the principal objectives for this pillar is for the MFPA to keep encouraging football players to follow a dual career pathway by providing more educational opportunities to its member players, including a variety of courses from the Basic English Language Course to Sports Management degrees;
• The MFPA is also striving to make it possible for players to pursue academic opportunities, also in cases where the interested candidates may be encountering some issues such as financial difficulties, a scheduling constraint etc.
2. COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH
• Health and safety education – information sessions about first aid, administration of the AED, doping and proper nutrition;
• Mental health sessions for players and clubs, campaigns to counter the taboo which is regrettably still associated with mental health, and individual assistance to players who seek help;
• Better health and safety conditions during games and training, first-aider on site before the start of any sports activity and comprehensive medical screening for football players before every season;
• Personal accident and health insurance for football players;
• Grading of football pitches, especially artificial turf surfaces;
• Measures to minimise the health risk caused by the extreme heat during the summer months;
• Tackling exhaustion and player burn-out – Minimum period of rest between matches, 28-day off-season break and 14-day in-season break.
3. WOMEN IN FOOTBALL
• Improving the playing conditions during games and training – significant progress has already been made;
• Improve the Memorandum of Understanding for the senior women’s national team players – a revised MOU between the MFPA and the Malta Football Association covering the period 2021-2024 was signed in September;
• Better protection in the event of injuries – the vast majority of women playing for Maltese clubs have an amateur status, so they are not contractually protected in case of injury;
• Actively assisting players in pursuing better opportunities abroad. This may include legal assistance, guidance on regulations and contract reviews as well as ongoing welfare support.
4. PLAYER SERVICES
• Pre-season training camps for out-of-contract players will remain a priority with possible expansion;
• Provide MFPA members with a secure and confidential setting on the MFPA online platform to report any abuse which is thereafter referred to the competent authorities;
• Abolish any restrictions imposed on the movement of amateur players, including youths;
• Establish a set of minimum requirements for football players’ accommodation.
5. STRENGTHENING THE ASSOCIATION
• Internal review of current policies, aimed at enhancing good governance, to be conducted periodically;
• The MFPA will not only remain accessible to players and stakeholders, it will also continue to actively seek out their input and constructive criticism;
• Consolidate the Association’s drive towards effective communication and Public Relations, expanding its outreach and raising its profile;
• Increase efforts to identify means and ways for the Association to become more financially self-sustainable;
• Develop and implement an effective equality, diversity and inclusion strategy.