Projects and initiatives highlighted during 2022 General Assembly
The Youth Football Association held its 2022 General Assembly on Friday, June 10 at the Centenary Hall, Ta’ Qali.
Giving an overview of the projects undertaken by the association during season 2021-22, General Secretary Stephanie Rocco noted that the Youth FA’s work revolved around its commitment to nurture the passion for the game among children while supporting youth nurseries in what has been another difficult year due to COVID-19.
The presentation of the Administrative Report was complemented by a video feature highlighting the main events and initiatives implemented by the Youth FA last season, the first under the presidency of Norman Darmanin Demajo who succeeded Fr Hilary Tagliaferro in June last year after the latter called time on his 39-year tenure at the helm of the association.
Addressing the assembly, Darmanin Demajo, the Youth FA president, reaffirmed the association’s drive to provide more opportunities and greater access for children to practise and enjoy the game of football while consolidating its social mission.
“When I accepted the proposal to take over from Fr Hilary as president, I was not thinking about how I can contribute but rather how I can best serve the Youth FA and our members,” Darmanin Demajo said.
“I’m not here to tick the boxes, I’m here to serve and assist in the best way possible, especially in those areas where the nurseries need our support most.”
Darmanin Demajo stressed that the association will continue to work in promoting football among children at pre-competition level, noting that there are still areas in Malta and Gozo where children do not have access to football training, something the Coaches on Wheels project is seeking to address.
Social responsibility and outreach initiatives represent another pillar of the Youth FA’s work with Darmanin Demajo emphasising “the power of football to make a difference in social, humanitarian and educational sectors others may find difficult to access”.
More opportunities for children
The Coaches On Wheels project, held for the first time in Gozo and Cottonera, is one of the new projects introduced by the Youth FA during season 2021-22.
Taking inspiration from Fr Hilary’s ‘Football, Live It With Love!!’ slogan, Coaches On Wheels offers free weekly training sessions for boys and girls, aged five to 10, targeting areas where youth nurseries do not cater for children in this age bracket due to various constraints.
The programme was fully funded by the Youth FA and led by a team of qualified coaches.
Another notable event was the Under-9 Enjoying The Game Festival, held at the Centenary Stadium on May 21-22 with 33 youth nurseries and the Malta FA Girls Academy U-12 team taking part.
Three youth nurseries hosted fun festivals, namely Qormi, who organised an U-8 festival, Siġġiewi (U-7, U-9 and U-11) and Żabbar St Patrick (U-7).
The Youth FA also pursued a number of social responsibility initiatives, teaming up with Aġenzija Sedqa to organise information sessions for youth nurseries about substance and drug abuse, and a seminar at Dar Kenn Għal Saħħtek focusing on obesity and eating disorders among children and youths.
Local football nurseries continued to receive support from the Youth FA in different forms, including regular assistance with the transition from the green passport to grassroots registrations on COMET by way of facilitating procedures and reducing bureaucracy.
Youth FA values
The work of the Youth FA in season 2021-22 was endorsed by Fr Hilary Tagliaferro, the association’s Hononary President who said that the projects and initiatives carried out during another year hit by COVID-19 disruptions attest to the Association’s commitment to adhere to its mission and values.
“Safeguarding the values which inspired the foundation of the Youth FA 40 years ago was my main concern when I felt that it was time for me to step down as president,” Fr Hilary said.
“I am very happy to see that the ‘Football, Live It With Love’ slogan is at the heart of all the Youth FA efforts as instilling the passion for the game among children is everything. The Youth FA is on the right path.”
At Friday’s General Assembly, the delegates unanimously approved the financial statement for season 2021-22, presented by Iden Azzopardi, the Youth FA Treasurer.