Former Floriana president Riccardo Gaucci has made a passionate appeal to the Maltese government to help the clubs receive much-needed income to invest in their grassroots so that they can develop young players into the future national team players.
Gaucci’s appeal came just one day after the Malta national team came agonisingly close to winning promotion to the UEFA Nations League Division C.
The team was heading towards victory against the Faroe Islands courtesy of a Matthew Guillaumier fine strike.
But their dreams of victory were dashed by Faroese substitute Ari Jonsson who grabbed a crucial equalizer that secured promotion for the Nordics and left our national team in second place in the group.
Gaucci is no longer involved in Maltese football after he resigned as Floriana president last month.
However, the Italian businessman still follows the game in Malta and told The Times of Malta that the situation experienced by the national team on Wednesday was similar to the went through by Floriana, who were on the verge of reaching the play-off round of the Europa League but lost to Flora Tallinn.
A similar fate was experienced by other clubs like Gżira United, Birkirkara and Valletta who always came up just short when on the verge of reaching higher standards in UEFA clubs competitions.
“Unfortunately, this situation continues to repeat itself in Maltese football,” Gaucci said.
“Every time there is an opportunity where Maltese football can reach new standards, we always fall short and that is very frustrating.
“The major reason behind all this that the government is not helping football clubs to grow as they should.
“Unless clubs are given the opportunity to generate revenue so that they can invest in their grassroot sector by setting up their nurseries with a professional structure that is run by top-notch coaches that help young players develop their talent, Maltese football cannot make that leap in quality.
“Clubs in Malta are unable to generate any form of income to re-invest it in their club and therefore they cannot move forward.
“They can bring good coaches like Vincenzo Potenza and Stefano Sanderra who have given a huge contribution to the development of the game but if more financial support is not given, Maltese teams will continue to come up short.”
Gaucci said that the Malta FA should be lauded for the excellent work it has done in recent months, through national teams’ head coach Devis Mangia and his technical staff who have revitalized the national team.
“The Malta FA should be congratulated for the work that it has carried out in the last few months as it is clear that the national team has made a huge leap of improvement,” Gaucci said.
“Imagine what can be achieved if local clubs in Malta are be given the tools to operate with a professional structure?
“What we have witnessed in the last few months, shows that Malta has the potential to emulate the achievements of a country like Iceland who qualified for the European Championships. But to achieve that more support is needed.
“It was nice to see the whole country unite behind the Malta national team, including the politicians who have congratulated Devis Mangia and his players for their performance.
“But it’s now time that the politicians do their part. Positive achievements for the national team will surely further improve the image of Malta in the world.”