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Vassallo calls for collective effort, urges clubs to promote Maltese talent at MFA General Assembly

MFA president lauded the progress of Maltese sides in Europe. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Malta FA president Bjorn Vassallo has urged clubs to continue working closely together in an effort to take the game to a higher level and appealed to them to continue promoting Maltese talent in the upcoming season.

Vassallo addressed member clubs’ delegates at the end of the Malta FA General Assembly that was held at the Dolmen Hotel in Qawra on Friday.

The MFA president said that he was pleased that in the past months, the local governing body and the clubs faced some important decisions but both parties always put the interests of the Beautiful Game in Malta at the top.

“For those who have been in local football for several years, remember annual general meetings that were quite heated where major decisions were taken and delegates were elected within the structures of the Malta FA,” Vassallo said.

“Today, these meetings remain significant, but the way the Malta FA governs and the reforms that were implemented in the last few years have led to everything being decided between the clubs, in a democratic way, but principally you decide what you think is the best for you without any internal political intervention.

“Being the last summer meeting before a new mandate for this administration, I would like to express my satisfaction and that of my colleagues on the progress attained in terms of the level of good governance, with all the changes that were implemented.”

“Although we didn’t always have easy decisions to make, however, together we sought the best interests of the association and Maltese football ahead of everything else.

“This is why I would like to thank the members of the Executive Board whose two-year term ended today, for their contribution and welcome the new members and wish them the best in their new roles.

“There are a number of projects that still need to be undertaken and I look forward to working hard so that these are completed so we continue to modernise Maltese football.”

Vassallo said that nobody can deny the progress made by Maltese clubs in European club competitions while the profile of the national teams has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years but warned that it would be foolish to think that we have arrived somewhere.

“One project that the MFA has invested heavily in the last few years was the technical project where with some concise work we have seen a change in both the approach and how we express our football,” the MFA chief said.

“The MFA has brought over some top quality coaches that have put the players’ needs at the top and aided by the huge investment made by the clubs in the development sector, the level of competition is growing each year.

“It is important that we maintain this approach. Added to that we need to give our clubs the autonomy towards a corporative restructure so that we move towards a model that is more sustainable where it would be easier to invest and attract new people towards Maltese football.

“Still, we need to remember where we started. There was an important collaboration between the association and clubs who worked together and shared ideas.

“Our clubs in Europe have made huge strides forward in terms of UEFA coefficient not only in football but also in futsal where we have a team who is among the top ten in Europe. The profile of our national team has also grown but now it’s important that we keep working together to maintain this upward trend.”

Vassallo said that next season will be a transitory campaign ahead of the 2024-25 season that will see the organisation of the first locally privatised championship.

“Next season will be a transition campaign that will take us to a new composition and format for the men’s championships,” Vassallo said.

“In the lower divisions a compromise was found, even though not everyone was in favour but there was a majority consensus. In the coming weeks, the schedule of matches will be published. I hope that all clubs will work diligently and continue to invest in the local product.

“I think that in the past few weeks, we have seen that we have young Maltese and Gozitan players who have shown their potential to be in their club’s starting XI formations.

“As regards the association we will continue to work hard to push Maltese football towards more knowledge and new opportunities so we continue to grow and reach our ambitions in the next few years.”

A few weeks ago, the Malta FA hosted the UEFA U-19 championship finals and Vassallo heaped praise on general secretary Dr Angelo Chetcuti for his sterling work at the helm of the organising committee and the technical centre whose work in the past 18 months was crucial to host such a prestigious event.

“Dr Angelo Chetcuti always works in silence but his level of work is top-notch,” the MFA chief said.

“Together with the experience of tournament director Ivan Vella, we organised a tournament of the highest level. I would also like to thank Zoran Lakovic and Thierry Faver, interlocutors of the National Associations within UEFA, as they gave our country the opportunity to host this tournament.

“It is a fact, that such events will leave a lasting legacy in our country, and at the moment we are gathering information that will be presented in a report but most importantly the two areas from which Maltese and Gozitan football will benefit are the development of the players involved and our sports infrastructure which will be enjoyed by local sporting public on a domestic level.”

MFA Executive Board

During the meeting an election of the Ordinary Members of the Executive Board where held yesterday.

Frank Cachia (Marsaxlokk), Alexander Fenech (Valletta), Robert Micallef (Santa Lucia), and Michael Valenzia (Birkirkara) will represent the Premier League.

The Challenge League will be represented by Eamon Bugeja (St Andrew’s), Peter Fenech (Lija Athetic), Claudio Martinelli (Tarxien Rainbows), and Matthew Naudi (Melita).

Stephen Calleja (Birżebbuġa SP), Robert Camilleri (Siġġiewi), Patrick Cutajar (Mellieħa), and Gordon Shepard (Xgħajra Tornadoes) will represent the National Amateur League.

Samuel Azzopardi (Gozo FA), Stephanie Rocco (Youth FA), Carlo Mamo (MFPA), Dana Farrugia (Birkirkara women FC), Mark Borg (Futsal Malta), and David Abdilla (MAFA) and Francis Muscat (IASC) are the other members to form part of the Executive Board.

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