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Sta Lucia FC eye Centre of Excellence project, focusing on players’ development, education

Santa Lucia FC moved a step closer towards starting works on their Sports Commercialisation Law Project after the Planning Authority on Thursday approved the Premier League club’s outline development permit to revamp their football facilities in the locality and turn it into a Centre of Excellence that focuses on players’ development and education.

The Premier League club had initially announced plans to embark on this project two years ago and after submitting their plans to Planning Authority they were finally granted permission on their project during a sitting of Planning Commission, with eight votes in favour and just one against.

Speaking during the sitting, Santa Lucia FC president Robert Micallef said the project’s concept fell under the Sports Commercialisation Law and was formulated according to the legislation guidelines and approved by the commission board.

“Our project is based on sport and education,” Micallef told the Planning Authority Commission.

“The goal is to create educational, sport and well-being facilities in the area. The main project is the construction of a secondary school that will focus on both academic studies as well as sports development.

“The school will offer a pathway for children aged between 11 and 18 towards a sporting career. Football will be one of the main sport, but we will also cater for other sporting disciplines in a professional set-up that will give participating students academic formation as well as the necessary training in the sporting discipline he chooses.

“The school will not have a huge capacity, we are planning not to have more than 200 students from Form 1 and 5 and they will have an innovative curriculum that will be able to help them to prepare them for their day-to-day life outside school.”

Micallef said that as part of the project a hostel will also be built in the area and the aim behind its construction is not for tourism purposes but for sports-related activities.

“We have no intention to use the hostel for tourism,” he said.

“The hostel will be used to host foreign teams who will be travelling to Malta to participate in youth tournaments or hold training camps at our stadium.”

The new facilities will also have a well-being facility that will include a gym and a fitness centre that will be available for the school’s students as well as for the general public.

“Our plan is to attract the people of Sta Lucia to use these facilities by giving them special rates,” Micallef said.

“At the moment, people living in Sta Lucia are forced to leave our town to make use of a gym or a fitness centre so our plan is to give them the opportunity to conduct their training without leaving our locality.

“A new football stadium is set to be constructed according to FIFA regulations and will be a full-sized pitch, that will comply with international standards and will give Santa Lucia FC, the opportunity to host matches from major tournaments, such as a UEFA U-19 championships or UEFA club competitions.”

The football stadium will have a capacity of 1,700 spectators and underneath the facility, a parking area will be built, which will also have space for the public.

A hybrid area, which will include an exhibition centre that can host extra-curriculum activities, will also be built that will also include administrative offices.

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