Bjorn Vassallo, the president of the Malta Football Association, emphasised the importance of adopting a co-ordinated approach to protect the integrity of Maltese sport. He was speaking at the launch of the Public Consultation on the establishment of an Authority for Integrity in Maltese sport, held on Saturday morning at the Centenary Hall.
Presiding over the event, Dr Clifton Grima, the Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sport and Voluntary Organisations, explained that the authority’s remit is in line with the pillars of the National Strategy for Sport.
“The objectives of the authority are inspired by the principles of credibility, transparency, accountability, education, leadership and regulations,” Dr Grima said, adding that the entity will address all matters related to governance and integrity in Maltese sport.
For his part, Vassallo said the Malta FA has been at the forefront of this concerted effort to fight illicit practices and strengthen integrity structures and procedures in Maltese sport.
“When the Executive Committee of the Malta Football Association approved the constitution of the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Experts Task Force, we embarked on a long process aimed at facilitating dialogue between the stakeholders based on three important principles – education and prevention, legislation and regulations, and investigative powers,” Vassallo said.
“This was a time when we suffered, we were exposed to the phenomenon of organised crime, not restricted to corruption, and we needed the support of the legislative authorities to protect the integrity and transparency of sports in our society.
“This co-ordinated approach against illicit practices in sport has led to the creation of this Authority. The latter’s work should focus on preventing, exposing and educating on the perils of corruption and all that is illegal in sports.
“Sporting fraud shatters all the good work being done to promote a sane society built on values and ethics. Together, we have shown that we can reach our objectives. Now it’s important that the Government and the authorities keep liaising with the sporting organisations to strengthen good governance in sport through integrity.”
Saturday’s conference was also addressed by Paul Sultana and Joe Caruana Curran, the presidents of the Malta Basketball Association and the Aquatic Sports Association respectively.