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Maria Azzopardi bringing decades of experience to MFA vice presidency bid

Former Malta women’s national team player and sports lawyer, Dr Maria Azzopardi, has formally put herself forward for election into the role of vice president within the Malta Football Association (MFA).

Azzopardi brings decades of experience, at player, coach, and administrative levels, spanning beyond the women’s sector.

With over 250 appearances and 50 goals domestically Maria Azzopardi’s footballing career spanned the decades where women’s football was in its infancy domestically, to the point of the creation of the women’s national team and beyond.

It makes her part of a group of women who laid the foundations for those raising it to the proud reputation it holds today.

Throughout her footballing career, Azzopardi won six domestic league titles, the first of which with Rabat Ajax back in 1997-98 when women’s football was in its earliest years in Malta.

Her performances with Melita earned her the most prestigious domestic individual honour of MFA Player of the Year in 2003-04 season.

That caught the eye of Hibernians, with whom Azzopardi went on to amass five league titles, four knockout trophies and six Super Cups between 2005 and 2017.

Besides dipping her toes in European football through the UEFA Women’s Champions League, Azzopardi also represented Malta at international level more than 30 times before hanging up her boots.

During this time, she also had an active role in shaping the next generation of footballers through coaching at grassroots level.

Her playing career developed alongside the pursuit of a Doctorate in Law. 

Azzopardi merged her legal profession with the love for the game by specialising through a Master in Sports Law from De Montfort Leicester University in 2014. She has been active in the administration side of the game since, as a club official, but also at regulatory levels. 

Dr Azzopardi is currently a sports legal advisor engaged by the Authority for Integrity in Maltese Sport (AIMS) and a leading prosecutor of the National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO) of Malta. This position followed a seven-year stint as the chairperson of the National Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (NADDP) between 2015 and 2022.

Azzopardi was also a member of the Faculty of Law at the University of Malta, delivering lectures on Sports Law.

Three spots

Dr Azzopardi joins the race to fill one of the three vice president positions.

The other candidates for the post are Adrian Casha, Matthew Paris, Peter Fenech, Pierre Miceli, Samuel Azzopardi, Dana Farrugia and Christabelle Chetcuti.

If elected, the vice presidency would not be the first time Azzopardi was engaged within the MFA, as chair of an MFA board between 2015 and 2019.

Having represented the Maltese Sports Ministry on European Committee Groups, Azzopardi also brings experience in handling diplomatic discussions at European and International level to the role.

This election is unique since one of the positions must be filled by a woman, but the

responsibilities of vice president make no gender distinction.

Having held duties in both the men’s and women’s side of the game, Azzopardi brings an unmatched lens to be able to represent the interests of all parties, irrespective of gender requirements.

Note: Article has been submitted by Dr Maria Azzopardi.

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