Premier League title Holders Hibernians and FA Trophy winners Floriana are set to battle for the BOV Super Cup trophy on December 8. However, unlike past seasons, this year’s final will take place at the Gozo Stadium. (kick-off: 4pm)
Malta Football Association vice president Matthew Paris said the idea of playing the match in Gozo had been on the association’s agenda for a number of years, only hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Super Cup hasn’t taken place for a number of years due to COVID. The reality is that we had been working with the GFA for a long time, to see the game played in Gozo,” Paris said.
“Eventually, when the opportunity came about, we spoke to the Minister for Gozo and he accepted immediately.
“We started a lot of talks and today, what we were dreaming of is now reality. This was only possible because of the support we’ve found from our commercial partners, the clubs, and the group of people that I represent.”
GFA president Samuel Azzopardi sounded his enthusiasm towards the event, as this will pave the way for the UEFA Under-19 European Championships in 2023.
“As we speak, preparations are taking place for the UEFA U-19 championships which will be played at the same Gozo stadium. This is not the first time that Maltese teams have played in Gozo but certainly the fact that this time they will play the Super Cup in Gozo is an honour for us,” Azzopardi said.
MFA vice-president Paris admitted it was a logistical challenge for the MFA to shift things to the sister island due to having all the infrastructure in place at Ta’ Qali already.
“We are used to hosting this kind of fixture here in our home at Ta’ Qali. Now we will head to Gozo which is obviously a challenge, but I’m convinced we are not only capable of doing it but also of creating a product which is good enough both for the Maltese people making the trip and the Gozitans,” Paris insisted.
“Most often, Gozitan people come to Malta to watch football, this time we’re taking Maltese football to them.”
Speaking on behalf of the two clubs were Hibernians midfielder Jake Grech and Jan Busuttil, of Floriana. The two Malta internationals both shared the same sentiment about the fixture.
“We are preparing very well for it,” said Grech, “from the last seven matches, we’ve won five and drawn two. We know it will be difficult as we will be playing against an opponent that was right behind us last season. But a cup is always a cup so we must do everything we can to win it.”
“Floriana is one of the most successful clubs in Malta so this will be another opportunity to add to the glory of the club,” Busuttil explained.
“I believe in our squad and the technical staff, but we must consider the fact that we will be playing against a team that won the league and has a number of players who have been together for many years.
“I believe that with determination we should be able to give a good performance, get a good result, and see our supporters as happy as can be.”
Paris explained how the match was not the only thing they have planned for the day, with other initiatives taking place around Gozo.
“The idea is not just the 90 minutes of the match, but we wanted to give the whole experience,” Paris said.
“So apart from the game, we should be announcing in the coming days a fan village which we believe will continue to strengthen the product we are offering and entertain the people. We shall also be introducing initiatives related to parking, shuttle service and other things which will come at a later stage.
“As of today, tickets will go on sale – some from the respective clubs while others from the MFA website, and the GFA offices.”
Also speaking at the press conference were Sports minister Clifton Grima and minister for Gozo Clint Camilleri who both expressed how special this event is set to be.
“The Super Cup has a special place in the hearts of those who have lived through Maltese football. The fact that it will now take place on a public holiday and in Gozo shows that there is trust in the GFA’s sporting facilities in Gozo,” Grima said.
“It is very satisfying for us as a ministry for Gozo to have this Super Cup taking place on our island because this could be cause for others to feel more inclined to take this step in the future and more matches, and other sports, would choose to happen in Gozo,” Camilleri explained.
“Those who choose Gozo should not do this because of obligation, but because of the trust in our facilities and this is exactly what the government is investing in.
“This is hopefully the start of greater internal sports tourism even in the winter months when tourism is at its lowest. It should be a golden opportunity both for Gozo and its business, as well as those who come and visit.”
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