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Bjorn Vassallo, Robert Micallef vie for presidency as MFA hold elections at General Assembly

From left: MFA presidential candidates Robert Micallef and Bjorn Vassallo.

Eight candidates eye three vice-president seats

President Bjorn Vassallo will seek another term in office at the Malta Football Association as the local governing body of football will hold its elections during its General Assembly at the Grand Hotel Excelsior in Floriana this evening.

Vassallo is seeking his second four-year spell in office but is facing the challenge of Robert Micallef, the president of Santa Lucia FC, during the presidential elections that headline today’s meeting.

Apart from the elections of a new president, the delegates of the clubs and member associations will elect the association’s vice-presidents who for the first time will feature a woman.

However, no doubt the main focus will be on the duel for the president’s seat with Vassallo starting as favourite to retain his position having been at the helm of the Malta Football Association for the past 14 years.

In fact, Vassallo was the mastermind behind Norman Darmanin Demajo’s successful bid to unseat Joe Mifsud as president and during that first term he was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the association.

After a few years working at FIFA, Vassallo returned to Maltese football and in 2020 he managed to be elected as president after overcoming the challenge of Chris Bonett.

In the build-up to the election, Vassallo said that his first term in office was hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic that forced him to abandon several projects.

However, he is now determined to implement the remainder of his strategic plan if he is given the nod for a second and final term in office.

“My main goal was always to implement my strategic plan for Maltese football over two terms in office that would last eight years,” Vassallo told the Times of Malta.

“I published clear objectives that we needed to discuss, work on, and implement so that we ensure that Maltese football makes the biggest leap forward possible in all areas of the Beautiful Game.

“There is a lot of work to be done in various areas such as grassroots, youth development, technical set-up, social mission and infrastructure.

“But I am very confident as I am surrounded by very capable people who understand my philosophy. In the last four years, we have created a platform for the work to be done and now our goal is to turn this philosophy into reality.

“I am confident that if I get a second mandate I can get the job done as my team has the credibility to do what it has been promised.”

Financial struggles

On the other hand, Robert Micallef has been campaigning for a change in leadership as in his opinion the clubs are not happy with the situation which sees them struggling from a financial point of view.

“The biggest concern among clubs is their financial situation as they are struggling to make ends meet at the end of the season because their revenues are very limited,” Micallef told the Times of Malta.

“Others have spoken about the problems they are facing at their nursery, youth participation, as well as infrastructure, with some clubs having no stadiums of their own where their teams can train.

“I believe that some of the challenges facing the clubs are minimal and can be solved with a bit of attention but there are others who are more of a challenge.

“I believe that my manifesto covers many of these issues and hopefully if I am elected I will do my best to be closer to the clubs and find a solution.”

In the race for the post of vice president until 2028, there are three female contestants, namely Maria Azzopardi, Christabelle Chetcuti and Dana Farrugia.

Once one of these three candidates is elected, the two others will be included in the ballot with five other male contestants for the other two seats as vice-president.

Adrian Casha and Matthew Paris are bidding for a second term in office while Peter Fenech has put his name forward for the post once more along with Samuel Azzopardi and Pierre Miceli.

During the meeting the MFA will also present its financial statements till the end of 2023.

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