Friday 18 June 2021, 16:41

FIFA President cherishes past and looks Forward on visit to Malta

  • FIFA-Forward funded Malta Museum of Football inaugurated

  • Important discussions held on football development in Malta

  • Ceremony and children’s football activity part of MFA 120th anniversary

FIFA President Gianni Infantino acknowledged the significant history of football and discussed direction for the future development of the sport in Malta during a visit to the country.

Laying the foundations for boosting the impact of football throughout society was among the themes of the day, which started with a group of children from the Footballers Read and Write Programme. President Infantino spent time with the youngsters, explaining the importance of both football participation and enhancing knowledge through reading. Malta’s Minister for Education, Justyne Caruana, and Parliamentary Secretary for Youth and Sport Clifton Grima, were also in attendance at Valletta FC’s Salinos Ground.

Discussions were held with Malta Football Association (MFA) President Bjorn Vassallo about the implementation of the association’s landmark strategy ‘We can perform better’ which is based on four central pillars: Develop and Grow (Technical), Showcase the Game (Competitions), Govern and Lead (Governance) and Commercial Value (Marketing).

The FIFA President continued that consultation with Prime Minister Robert Abela before inaugurating the Malta Museum of Football at the National Stadium, a FIFA Forward-funded facility that will open to the general public on 1 August.

“It’s a celebration day as we officially open the museum because we need to know our history to be able to plan our future,” said Mr Infantino. “Malta has a rich history as a country, as an island and also when it comes to football. Malta is a proud member of FIFA and FIFA is proud to have Malta as a member.

“The strategy document that was prepared by President [Bjorn] Vassallo is his vision which was transformed into a strategy, maybe taking a few elements of his experience with FIFA. It’s written there that the objective of Malta is to be world champions. Now, we must know that the FIFA World Cup is won by only one country out of 211 but actually all 210 others can be world champions. Because our World Cup here in Malta is of course represented in all of the projects that are run for the boys and girls playing here.”

Mr Vassallo added: “Today was an important day as we work through the strategy [towards] reachable aims, which, in my opinion, can be achieved. Only by being humble enough to understand what other Member Associations in Europe [are doing] but also in other confederations, we can learn best practices to bring whatever is good for football to this country. The discussions that we have had about these projects being implemented fill me with more courage to continue working together with the administration and all involved in football to try and achieve better performances and results.”