The Malta Football Association announced plans to build a National Football Centre in Ta’ Qali that will not only be the home of the national teams but also to attract more sports tourism towards our country.
Manuel Cassar, Head of Infrastructural Projects at the Malta FA, said that the project is being made thanks to the National Development and Social Fund who will fund part of the costs that will amount to €11 million.
“The project is now in its final phase and we are awaiting the Planning Authority to issue the necessary permits so that works can start,” Cassar said.
“We are also planning to issue applications for tenders for excavation works. The project will have a Category 1 Stadium that will be ready in time to host matches from the European U-19 Championships that will be held in Malta in 2023.”
The stadium at the National Football Centre will also be used to host matches from the women’s league as well as the youth competitions.
Cassar said that the MFA have completed other infrastructural projects in the past few months.
“The Ta’ Qali training grounds have been renovated with automatic irrigation installed as well as an upgrading of the lighting system,” Cassar said.
“Added to that we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government that will enable us to embark on a project to resurface 62 artificial pitches around Malta and Gozo. The first clubs that will benefit from this initiative this year are Mellieħa, Mosta, and Mqabba.”
Cassar also announced that the MFA are close to completing the upgrading project of the football pitch at St Joseph’s Home in Sta Venera which will have an artificial pitch installed as well as a new lighting system.
“This venue is planned to be used as one of the Regional Hubs of the Malta FA as well as being made available for small clubs who don’t have their own facilities,” he said.
The Malta FA has presented a number of amendments to the authorities so that matches will no longer be supervised by members of the police force but by stewards.
President Bjorn Vassallo said that they are awaiting a response from the authorities on a ‘very important innovation’ that will change how matches are supervised every weekend.
The MFA president also announced that they have made contact with UEFA on this initiative and said that this month, Michael van Praag, chairman of the UEFA Stadium and Security Committee, will be sending a delegation to train people in match operations stewarding.
“This will lead to a scenario where the Malta FA will no longer need a huge number of police members in stadiums as matches will be supervised by our personnel,” Vassallo said.