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Mayor Borg Manche rubbishes claims he wants to damage Gżira FC in stadium row

Gżira Mayor has rubbished claims made by Gżira United FC that he has any interest to damage the Premier League club following claims that the latter have no interest in making use of the stadium in Manoel Island.

In a detailed reply, which he addressed to Gżira United vice-president Ian Micallef, who he alleged that had written the Premier League club’s statement, he said that he never had any intention of creating any controversy with the club he contributed to so much.

“In the first place, I never wanted to create any controversies but I always gave my contribution to the club I always loved and whenever the club needed me I was always ready to give a helping hand until the issue of the football stadium and its commercialisation cropped out.

“You took this issue to the then Prime Minister Joseph Muscat who agreed with me and didn’t want to get involved between us.”

 Dr Borg Manche said that he never claimed that he took the merit of the stadium acquisition but he always did everything he could so that who is involved will do everything as planned and that was his only interest in this issue.

“I would like to remind you Ian that one of the founding members of Gżira United was my grandfather Hector and his brother Pawlu Borg (known as it-teacher) which means that I will never do anything to put the club in a bad light like you are claiming,” Dr Borg Manche said.

“The club is very close to my heart and it was hard for me that when this issue cropped out that I decided not to attend any matches of Gżira United to ensure I don’t create any more problems, even though deep down in my heart I know I am right and in your conscience you know that. But still, I kept following the team and their results.

“However, I have an obligation towards the people of Gżira that whenever I see something wrong I speak out and oppose it.

“I appeal to you Ian that like in court you prove your allegations. It is easy to talk without bringing any substance to what are you saying. If it was true what you are saying, the last thing that I would do for my personal interest is to get involve in a controversy with the football club as this issue has far from made me more popular.

“Can you explain to me how if you always wanted to make use of the Manoel Island ground why you also wanted the University Ground as well? And afterwards we had a confirmation that there were no arrangements with the University of Malta.

“I also spoke with the club CEO Edward Zammit Tabona on June 2019 and he told me that they want to commercialise the ground to take the club to the next level. I made it clear to him that no that ground had to be done as it was originally planned.

“If it is true that you really wanted the ground, why during the Planning Authority hearing of the application nobody from the club committee attended? And for your information, the questions that you were supposed to do I made them for you during the hearing as a member of the board as for me it’s important that we have a ground that suits all the people of Gżira, particularly the children.”

The Gżira Mayor said that it’s not true that it was him who caused controversy but it was the president Sharlon Pace who had told him that ‘if the Manoel Island Stadium will be done I will resign’ and Borg Manche responded to him that he could do what he wanted but the ground will be held as planned and from then on the first problems started.

“Sharlon Pace never spoke to me again and he kicked me out of the committee where during that time I occupied the post of of vice-president,” Dr Borg Manche said.

“My principles and loyalty are towards the people of Gżira above everything else and therefore I knew that you didn’t want me to be part of the club committee. So explain to me why you removed me from the committee if you were interested in the stadium?”

“I am ready to take an oath to confirm everything I am saying and that the only thing I wanted was that the Manoel Island stadium was done as planned and as MIDI were obliged to according to the government’s concession contract. I also told them that if Gżira United were not interested to get involved in the stadium I will not get into it but the stadium will be held as planned.

“I am ready to meet with the Gżira United president to settle this issue and if he is honest, fair and genuine he knows deep down that I always wanted the best for the club and I never wanted to damage it but I was never ready to sacrifice the stadium that we have been waiting for several years.

“The president knows that all I did and said was because I have strong principles and I am loyal to the Gżira people.”

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