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MRFU president Buttigieg resigns after no progress in stadium talks

Kevin Buttigieg, the president of the Malta Rugby Football Union, has stepped down from his post with immediate effect after almost two years at the helm.

Buttigieg announced his decision during an MRFU Council meeting on Wednesday night and the local governing body are now looking to appoint a new man at the helm of the governing body.

Contacted by the Times of Malta, Buttigieg said that the main reason behind his decision to resign was the lack in progress in talks with the government over the stadium project.

In June last year, the Planning Authority has approved the permits for the construction of a football and rugby stadium adjacent to the Tony Bezzina Stadium at Corradino, with an investment of €7.2 million.

However, Buttigieg said that since he was elected president of the Malta Rugby Football Union he analysed the terms of the contract signed with the government and the Hibernians Sports Club and had raised a number of issues.

One of the main issues that Buttigieg was pushing to improve was to ensure the MRFU had a bigger use of the proposed facilities as according to the departing president the contract stated that the rugby body could only make use of the stadium six times a year.

“Since June last year, I have been in constant contact with the government to try and meet and try and negotiate better terms for the MRFU as some of the conditions that had been agreed upon were unacceptable for me,” Buttigieg said.

“I have been discussing a way forward for several months now and I gave myself a limit until the end of 2021 in the hope that there will be some progress in talks. At the start of this year, I said I would stay on for another month to see if something happens but despite the constant emails sent for a meeting there was no response and I decided to leave my position as in these conditions I cannot work.

“I took the position of MRFU president as I am very passionate about rugby and wanted to give the game a boost to move forward but unfortunately it’s like hitting a wall and the situation has become a burden so it was time for me to move on.”

Buttigieg said that the MRFU deserved more respect and all he was asking is that the sport would have proper facilities like any other discipline in Malta.

“For many years we have been given a lot of promises but nothing materialised,” Buttigieg said.

“As MRFU the only thing we wanted from the government was that we are given proper facilities with a good floodlight system where rugby players can train and young players can be developed.

“The MRFU was more interested to have its own premises in Marsa which is what we were mainly negotiating.  The Hibs stadium was secondary for now even though we wanted better conditions.

“For us, Marsa is the home of rugby union and we were negotiating Pitches 1 and 3.

“At the end of the day, as a federation we wanted to have proper facilities like any other sport in Malta.”

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