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Manchester United women set for Malta training camp next month

Manchester United women will be conducting a five-day training camp in Malta for a second successive year next month, the Malta Tourism Authority confirmed in a press conference on Thursday.

The Times of Malta had reported last month that the English WSL Club was set for a second successive visit to our islands after a successful trip last year which had seen them also play a friendly match with Malta women champions Birkirkara.

Now the English WSL side has asked to return early next month and are set to play a friendly match against Dutch side PSV Eindhoven.

“Malta is slowing growing as a sport tourism destination,” Helmut Almhof, Qmedia manager, told a news conference.

“This year we are planning three major events for the first months of the new year. The biggest attraction will be the return of English women team Manchester United to Malta,” Amhof said.

“Officials from Manchester United were very happy with our hospitality last year and they have asked us to return in January next year. They will arrive in Malta on January 3 and will return back to the United Kingdom on January 8.

“Manchester United and PSV Eindhoven will play a friendly on January 5 at the Tony Bezzina Stadium with kick-off time set at 6pm.”

Amhof said that match tickets will be sold at €2 and all proceeds of the match will go to charity. The friendly match is set to be screened live on Manchester United’s TV channel MUTV as well as PSV’s TV channel.

 The second major event for 2024 will be the TIPSPORT Malta Cup, which has now reached its fifth edition.

This year’s tournament will attract the participation of the Austrian side Austria Vienna, Sigma Olomouc and Hradec Kralove, of the Czech Republic, and Spartak Trnava of Slovakia.

Matches will be played on January 10 and 13 at the National Stadium with the final matches to be held at the Tony Bezzina Stadium on January 15.

Amhof also announced that there are plans to host the VisitMalta Women’s Trophy which will feature the Malta national team who are fresh from their historic promotion to League B of the UEFA Nations League.

Amhof said that Malta’s opponents in the tournament have yet to be identified since Manuela Tesse’s girls had yet to ensure their automatic promotion to League B.

“Had Malta finished second in the group their play-offs would have been played in the same time of the tournament so we had to wait to see what was going to happen,” he said.

“Now we have started negotiations to see which three teams will face Malta in the tournament. We are in continuous contact with the MFA as the tournament will form part of the team’s preparations for their commitments in League B.”

On his part, Carlo Micallef, Tourism Malta CEO, said that the visit of the Manchester United’s women team will be another great opportunity to publicise Malta as an ideal destination to many countries around the world through the English club’s brand.

“As VisitMalta we are continuously working towards providing our country the visibility needed on an international level,” Micallef said.

“During the last few years, we have identified sports tourism as a great avenue to attract more tourists to our country. The visits of several high-profile teams to our islands, such as Fiorentina, Inter, and PSV Eindhoven, just to name a few, our country received a huge promotion through the strong media coverage these events attracted.

“And that is the route we want to continue to embark in the next few years.”

On his part, Minister Clayton Bartolo said that the sports tourism sector has become a key contributor to bringing in tourists at this time of the year.

“For the first months of the new year, we are estimating that around 12,500 bed nights will be generated,” Bartolo said.

“The significance of these tournaments and training camps is quite big. The tendency of the people that come to our islands for these activities is that they spend more when compared to others from other areas.

“Our aim remains that to try and diversify our touristic product by attracting a tourist of a higher level.”

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