- Clayton Pisani is Malta’s new international referee on the FIFA list while Franco Cachia has been placed on the Futsal international list.
These two officials joined twelve of their colleagues on Monday evening when the referees were presented with their international badges by the President of the Malta Football Association, Dr. Joe Mifsud.
When presenting the badges, Dr. Mifsud spoke of the necessity for referees to be honest, vigilant and determined to do well. They must be firm but fair and never show any favour in their delicate assignments.
Dr. Mifsud told them that they were chosen to form part of the FIFA Referees and FIFA Futsal Referees lists as the MFA believed that they were the best officials of a very good upcoming crop of referees. He urged these officials, as he has done on other occasions to the whole refereeing fraternity, that they must report any possible approach by unscrupulous people who try and make them influence the result of a match. The MFA is determined to root out corruption as it has proved in the last few months. It will show no mercy whoever the person may be.
The referees who were presented with the FIFA badge were Marco Borg, Chris Lautier, Clayton Pisani and Anton Zammit, while the Assistants Referees' badge went to Philip Agius, Konrad G. Borg, Alan Camilleri, Joseph Camilleri, Mariano Debono, Charles Micallef, Edward Spiteri and Ingmar Spiteri. Esther Azzopardi was presented with the Women's FIFA Referee badge while Franco Cachia was awarded the FIFA Futsal Referees badge for the first time.
Clayton Pisani is a Physical Education teacher in state schools, while Franco Cachia is a security official at the Malta International Airport.
- Seven players were handed a one-match ban following the weekend's matches.
These are Jovil Abela (Senglea) in Division 1, Alan Deidun (Kirkop) in the Second & Third Division Knock-Out, Daniel Gauci (Attard), Christian Schembri (Ghaxaq), Daniel Muscat (Qormi), Manuel Scerri (Tarxien) and Matthew Borg (Zebbug) in the Youth League.
- First Division Pietà H. vs St. Patrick 2-2
- The official website of Birkirkara FC - www.birkirkarafc.com has been re-launched with a new layout and more enhanced features.
With this new site, the club is looking forward to tighten the relationship with its large Maltese fan base whilst also serving as a one-stop site for people who would like to gather information and other material about the club.
- Two players of First Division side St. George's pleaded guilty to bribery charges in court following last Saturday's BOV First Division clash between Vittoriosa Stars and St. George's which Vittoriosa won 3-2.
The two players are midfielder Lawrence Mizzi and goalkeeper Andrea Gatt. Another person is currently being held in custody by the police and is expected to be brought to court once investigations are completed.
Addressing a press conference at the MFA Headquarters on Monday, MFA president Dr Joe Mifsud said that the association had already made it clear during the last Annual General Meeting that it will be fighting corruption with all possible measures and following the alleged attempt of corruption in the UEFA Cup qualifying round between Marsaxlokk and Slaven Belupo, another case of corruption cropped up during the weekend in this First Division clash.
Dr Mifsud said he was glad that this case took less than forty-eight hours to be solved and that two of the persons involved were already taken to court where they admitted the charges. He said that reports had reached the association about St. George's players which were being approached by a person which offered them money in view of influencing the result of this game. St. George's officials contacted MFA vice-president Dr Peter Fenech and the case was immediately referred to the Police. The Police interviewed a number of persons in their investigation.
The two players who were brought to court on Monday were Lawrence Mizzi and Andrea Gatt. In court, Mizzi admitted that a person had approached him, offering him the sum of €1,000 and another € 1,000 for Gatt. Both players admitted to breaching the law regarding the corruption of players - Prevention of Corruption (Players) Act - Chapter 263 of the Laws of Malta.
Magistrate Doreen Clarke sentenced Lawrence Mizzi to eighteen months imprisonment, suspended for four years while Andrea Gatt was given a suspended sentence of one year imprisonment. Both players were also fined €500.
Meanwhile Dr Mifsud and Dr Fenech said that the case will now be referred to the Board to Investigate Corrupt Practices of the Malta Football Association. The board will investigate these two players and eventually the third person who is yet to be taken to court. The two players have been suspended temporarily until the board will take its decision. In the same way, the board will investigate the other person.
Disciplinary action, in relation to cases of corruption, as stipulated in MFA regulations, could lead to life suspension for players and deduction of points, relegation or expulsion of a club if a club official is involved in corruption.
Dr Fenech warned those persons who are related in some way or another to the case to come forward with the information they had. He said that their failure to report such information would lead to the police investigating them.
Dr Mifsud and Dr Fenech thanked Police Commissioner John Rizzo and Police Inspector Angelo Gafŕ from the anti-fraud section for their full co-operation and for solving the case in record time.
- MFA president Dr Joe Mifsud denied allegations made by Birkirkara FC president Victor Zammit in an interview that the association had been fined by UEFA over licencing matters.
Addressing a press conference on Monday, the MFA president said that Zammit's comments were not true. Dr Mifsud said that the association was cautioned by UEFA after the annual audit, which is carried out by the European body, found out that the MFA Clubs' Licensing Board had relied on declarations made by three clubs over payments they were due to make rather than asking for receipts.
The MFA president said that one of the three clubs was Birkirkara and had the Clubs' Licensing Board not closed an eye, the three clubs could have been refused the license and hence participation in UEFA competitions.
Meanwhile Dr Mifsud announced that he filed libel action against Norman Darmanin Demajo, journalist Mark Attard and the newspaper Illum over an article which was published on Sunday 21st December. Dr Mifsud has also taken Darmanin Demajo to court over the letter sent by the former MFA treasurer to the MFA general secretary, on which the article on Illum was based.
- First Division San Gwann vs Senglea A. 4-2, Mosta vs Dingli S. 0-1
- Second & Third Division Knock-Out Kirkop U. vs Naxxar L. 1-3 aet, Mgarr U. vs Balzan Y. 1-4
- Gozo - First Division Victoria H. vs SK Victoria W. 1-2, Ghajnsielem vs Nadur Y. 4-3
- First Division Vittoriosa S. vs St. George's 3-2, Pietà H. vs St. Patrick postponed
Due to the condition of the pitch at the Hibernians Ground after the recent heavy rainfall, the BOV First Division League match between Pietà Hotspurs and St. Patrick scheduled for today, Saturday 27 December at 14:45hrs, has been postponed.
- Second & Third Division Knock-Out Gudja U. vs Melita 1-9, Zebbug R. vs Sta. Venera L. 0-1
- The installation of floodlights at the Hibernians Ground will be completed in the coming weeks and the project is expected to be inaugurated on Tuesday 10th February with the Under-21 international friendly match between Malta and Denmark.
This project was made possible thanks to funds which were obtained from UEFA through the Hat-Trick II programme.
The installation of these floodlights is in fact only one of the several projects which are being partially funded by the Malta Football Association through the project meant for the improvement and development of facilities of member clubs and member associations.
Funds allocated amount to €4 million. The association obtained €2 million from a UEFA programme and another €2 million thanks to a loan from Bank of Valletta.
The funds from UEFA actually amount to €2.5 million but €0.5 million will go to a social project which the association has identified in the National Grassroots' Centre. This centre will will consist of a stadium with an artificial turf pitch with floodlights and a stand for supporters. Other facilities at this centre, which will be located at the MFA Training Grounds, will also include dressing rooms and lecture rooms for the Under-17, Under-19 and women's national teams.
Applications from around 40 different clubs and member associations vary between major work such as the laying of full-size artificial turf pitches and building of dressing rooms, installation of floodlights and providing other facilities.
The projects at Victor Tedesco Stadium, the St. Patrick Ground in Zabbar and the Melita Ground have been completed and the installation of artificial turf pitches in Pembroke and Marsaxlokk, together with the Sannat Ground in Gozo, will be completed in the coming weeks. No less than fourteen artificial turf pitches will be installed in all.
When this project will be completed, a total of €10 and €12 million would have been spent in three years on the association and clubs' infrastructure.
- Champions Valletta have completed their foreign line-up with the signing of Sebastian Monesterolo and Brazilian striker Paolo Massaro. They will join the other foreigner in squad - Njongo Priso.
During the weekend, the Citizens concluded negotiations with Argentine striker Sebastian Monesterolo. This will be Monesterolo's third spell with Valletta. He had joined Valletta in January 2006 and in January 2007, he moved to Kuwait, joining Al-Kuwait Sporting Club.
Monesterolo returned to Malta in summer 2007 following the appointment of Victor Sciriha as new Valletta president. However last summer, he left Malta once again to join AEK Larnaca in Cyprus. However failure to obtain an EU passport meant that he was not registered by the Cypriot club and ended up playing with Israeli Second Division side Hapoel Bnei Lod.
The other new foreigner is Brazilian striker Paolo Massaro who was on trial for the club over the past days together with a player from Argentina Sebastian Aset. Massaro will join the club until the end of the season.
Massaro played for several Brazilian clubs including Botafogo, Comercial, Juventus, Atletico, Rio Claro, Iraty, Rio Branco, Ulbra and finally Paraná Clube.
Monesterolo and Massaro are now expected to be in the Valletta squad which will travel to Italy for a mini-training camp and a triangular tournament with Italian Serie B side Ancona and another team.
- Nigerian goalkeeper Murphy Akanji is set to make his return to the BOV Player League in order to join Floriana. He would replace Serbian goalkeeper Dejan Maksic who played his last game for the Greens last Sunday against Sliema. Maksic is expected to join a club in Greece.
The almost thirty-two year old Nigerian goalkeeper had joined Sliema from Julius Berger back in summer 2001. He played for seven years with the Blues before being released at the end of last season.
Meanwhile Floriana are yet to find a replacement for Serbian coach Zoran Popovic who quit the club for family reasons and will return to his home country. Popovic had joined Floriana in summer and under his guidance, the Greens claimed six wins and three draws out of twelve matches and are currently fourth, eleven points ahead of the team in seventh place.
- Four Premier League players were handed a one-match ban by the MFA Disciplinary Commissioner following last weekend's matches. The four players are Birkirkara midfielder Jonathan Holland, Andre Rocha Da Silva of Msida St. Joseph and Sliema Wanderers duo Branko Nisevic and Roderick Bajada.
Holland is ruled out of the Stripes' next game against Qormi on Sunday 4th January. Also on Sunday 4, Da Silva will miss the game between Floriana and Msida St. Joseph.
Nisevic and Bajada are ruled out of the next game for Sliema Wanderers in programme on Sunday 11th January against Marsaxlokk.
Naxxar's Kevin Fenech was banned for three matches in Division 2 while Christopher Cioffi (Marsa) was suspended for one game. In Division 3, Daniel Haber and Francois Mizzi (both Attard) and Adrian Psaila (Luqa) were handed a one-match ban.
The worst hit in the Youth League were Naxxar Lions. Assistant coach Victor Bellia was suspended for four matches while Adrian Fenech and Andy Bartolo were both banned for three matches. Wayne Muscat (Balzan), Bryan Falzon (Kirkop) and Neil Curmi (Valletta) were suspended for one match.
- Hamrun Spartans Supporters Club will be holding an event on December 29, during which the 2009 Calendar will be launched.
This event will be held at The Boozer, St. Joseph High Road, Hamrun from 20:30 onwards.
Those who attend will be given a free welcome drink and finger food.
The 2009 Calendar will be available on sale for €2.
- Gozo - Second Division St. Lawrence S. vs Oratory Y. 1-1, Xewkija T. vs Xaghra U. 3-0
- Referees Marco Borg, Chris Lautier, Anton Zammit and Clayton Pisani have been confirmed on the FIFA Referees List for 2009. The new face is that of Clayton Pisani who replaces Joe Attard.
Pisani is one of the First Class - Top Division referees and has been controlling Premier League matches since 2003.
Meanwhile Esther Azzopardi Farrugia has also been confirmed as the only Female Referee on the List. Franco Cachia has been added to the 2009 FUTSAL FIFA Referees.
The eight FIFA Assistant Referees, namely Philip Agius, Konrad G. Borg, Alan Camilleri, Joseph Camilleri, Mariano Debono, Charles Micallef, Edward Spiteri and Ingmar Spiteri, have been confirmed for 2009.
- Contrary to what has been programmed and since a new format will be adopted, the MFA Technical Centre will be organising another UEFA ‘B’ Diploma Course at Ta’ Qali Technical Centre in seven different modules, spread over a period of time in 2009, mostly during weekends.
These modules will be as follows:
Module 1. From 30th January (evening) to 1st February
Module 2. 13th to 15th February
Module 3. 13th to 15th March
Module 4. 27th to 29th March
Module 5. 18th April
Module 6. 20th April to 22nd May - This is mainly supervised coaching in the clubs)
Module 7. 29th to 31st May - Assessment.
Before participation is approved applicants will have to undergo a pre-assessment test - the date for which will be communicated later.
Applicants with MFA B and National Team players with 25 caps in the last ten years are exempted from the pre-assessment test. It is also important that participants have access to coaching a team from U-15 upwards.
Applications forms are available from the Technical Centre at Ta’ Qali during office hours.
Closing date for applications will be Friday 9th January 2009.
A passport-size photo, a photocopy of the last coaching certificate (CCC certificate or UEFA C), a CV of coaching experience, a signed certificate by present employing club or nursery and a medical certificate are also required.
MFA B Coaches and former and present National Team Players with 25 caps in the last ten years are also eligible.
Since the number of participants is limited, applications will be accepted on a first-come-first-served basis.
- Premier League Qormi vs Tarxien R. 1-0, Sliema W. vs Floriana 0-3
- First Division Senglea A. vs Mqabba 1-3, Rabat A. vs Mosta 0-4
- Second Division Lija A. vs Mellieha 2-1, Marsa vs Gozo 3-4
- Third Division Section A Luqa SA vs Kalkara 0-1
- Third Division Section B Pembroke A. vs Attard 4-1
- Gozo - First Division Sannat L. vs Kercem A. 2-2
- Gozo - Second Division Zebbug R. vs Gharb R. 0-3
- The second in a series of friendly monthly football festivals organised by Hamrun Spartans FC Youth Nursery was held on Saturday, 20 December 2008 at the Victor Tedesco Stadium. The festival was sponsored by San Michel Table Water.
The participating nurseries were Sliema Wanderers, Pietà Hotspurs and Luxol St Andrews who all played against Hamrun teams in the following categories: kids born 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000.
The purpose of these festivals is to give the possibility to all kids training with the Hamrun nursery to play football under the watchful eyes of their coaches, who can carefully assess their improvement. The next festival will be held in January 2009.
For more information on the Hamrun nursery, one may visit the nursery's official website: www.hamrunnursery.com.
- Premier League Msida SJ vs Birkirkara 2-2, Marsaxlokk vs Valletta 0-1
- Second Division St. Andrews vs Zebbug R. 1-1, Naxxar L. vs Sta. Venera L. 0-2
- Third Division Section A Xghajra T. vs Qrendi 4-1
- Third Division Section B Mtarfa vs Zejtun C. 0-2
- MFA president Dr Joe Mifsud announced that he will be opening libel proceedings against former MFA treasurer Norman Darmanin Demajo, Illum sports journalist Mark Attard together with the newspaper's editor following the publishing of an article based on the contents of a letter sent by Darmanin Demajo to the MFA general secretary.
aking during a meeting of the Council of the Malta Football Association on Thursday, Dr Mifsud said that Darmanin Demajo had sent him a letter in mid-November regarding comments by Dr Mifsud. On December 11, Darmanin Demajo sent a letter to the MFA general secretary in which he alleged abuse of power, misappropriation of funds and corruption by Dr Mifsud.
manin Demajo said that in November 2000, he had already reported serious allegations including breach of statute, abuse of power and corruption and asked the Board of Inquiry to investigate the matter. The former MFA treasurer and candidate for president in the MFA Annual General Meeting 2007 asked whether the matter was investigated or not.
was alleged that funds received by the association were not deposited in the MFA's account.
the letter by Darmanin Demajo, it was alleged that another case of abuse of power and misappropriation of funds took place over the past five years where funds from the Hat-Trick program, which according to Darmanin Demajo, were intentioned for clubs, were used elsewhere. He said that the sum involved, 300,000 Swiss Francs (€195,000), was meant for clubs to meet the UEFA Licence criteria.
aking on Thursday, the MFA president said that the circular stated clearly that each association would receive up to CHF 300,000 to run the club licensing system - that is covering administrative expenses and running costs if there are at least ten clubs applying to take part in UEFA competitions. The sum of CHF 10,000 is deducted for each team if the amount is less than ten. The MFA president said that the circular did not rule out the possibility of the association using these funds to run the licensing system. He said that running the licensing system costs the association money and that clubs were not being asked any fee when applying for a UEFA licence.
Mifsud stated that the allegations made by Darmanin Demajo regarding abuse of power as President of the Malta Football Association and fraud are false and were made with malicious intent. The Council agreed that the best forum to investigate the allegations made by Darmanin Demajo were not the MFA institutions but the Courts of Justice.
- MFA president Dr Joe Mifsud reviewed the work done by the association during 2008 and revealed the association's targets for 2009 while delivering the traditional end-of-the-year speech during the last meeting of the Council of the Malta Football Association for this year.
Dr Mifsud mentioned the work done by the association over the past twelve months which above all included the sports facilities project. He said that towards the end of 2007, the association had invited applications from member clubs and member associations who wished to improve their facilities. He said that association worked hard, especially over the past six months. Work which is bearing fruit as some facilities have already been completed, others are nearing completion and hopefully by the end of the 2009, work on twenty-two facilities would have been completed.
As part of the project, work on the National Grassroots Centre started as well. This was part of the association's objective to create a stadium which would be able to host Youth League matches on artificial turf. An objective which has already been reached through the use of a number of other venues. Dr Mifsud said that the association will benefit from a total of €2.5 million from the UEFA Hat-Trick II programme, USD 400,000 from FIFA and €2.5 million from a BOV loan. €1.2 million will be used for the National Grassroots Centre.
Over the past year, referees started using a new communications system while the association applied to join the UEFA Referees Convention. Formal approval is expected in January.
Embellishment at the National Stadium continued with the installation of seats at the North Stand and the South Stand, the installation of artificial turf on the track and the refurbishment of the area reserved to the media. Upgrading of the facilities at the Centenary Stadium continued with the installation of seats, a new scoreboard and the installation of a new PA system. The MFA will now apply to have the Centenary Stadium in line with UEFA criteria for the hosting of UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League qualifiers.
Other projects which were carried out over the past months included the set-up of the headquarters for the national team, the revamped MFA website, the conclusion of agreements with television stations and a five-year agreement for the use of the Victor Tedesco Stadium.
The MFA president said that next year the association will celebrate the 100th anniversary from the first ever league championship together with 50 years of membership within UEFA and FIFA. He said that the association ought to take cue from these celebrations to continue to improve the level of the game.
He said that ways of achieving this include a recent agreement thanks to which futsal is being introduced - for which the MFA president thanked Parliamentary Secretary for Youth and Sport Clyde Puli and the Malta Tourism Authority thanks to which the association is trying to find ways of co-operating with Sheffield United.
- The BOV Premier League fixture between Valletta and Hibernians in programme on Saturday January 3 was postponed following a request by Valletta who will be travelling to Italy to participate in a triangular tournament in Ancona.
Valletta vs Hibernians will now be played on Wednesday 7 January at 19:30. Hamrun Spartans vs Marsaxlokk, also in programme on Saturday 3 will now kick-off at 15:30 and not 14:00.
Valletta will travel to Italy for a mini training camp besides this triangular tournament against Serie B side Ancona and a team from Albania. Ancona are currently fifteenth in the Serie B.
Included in the squad for this trip to Italy are two new foreign striker - Sebastian Aset from Argentina and Paolo Massaro from Brazil.
Massaro played for several Brazilian clubs including Botafogo, Comercial, Juventus, Atletico, Rio Claro, Iraty, Rio Branco, Ulbra and finally Paraná Clube. Aset, on the other hand, was on the books of Tristan Suarez, El Porvenir, Juventud Unida and Guaymallen in Argentina, Hertha Berlin (Germany), El Tanque Sisley (Uruguay), Union San Felipe, Cobresal and Fernandez Vial in Chile, UA Maracaibo in Venezuela and Cooma Tigers in Australia.
- The Malta Football Association is organising a course for Trainee Referees commencing on Monday January 12, 2009.
Sessions will be held twice weekly on Monday and Thursday.
Interested persons aged 16 to 35 can contact the Head, Refereeing Department, Millennium Stand (Level 2), National Stadium, Ta’ Qali. ATD 4000 or email (email@example.com) by not later than Wednesday January 7, 2009.
- Marsaxlokk have confirmed Patrick Curmi as the new coach after he signed a contract with the club until 2011. Curmi had tendered his resignation from the post of Msida St. Joseph coach a couple of weeks ago but this was rejected by the club who also suspended him for twenty-eight days.
However the Southseasiders were now given the go-ahead to offer Curmi a contract. Curmi will take over the post of coach from Brian Talbot who will now be the club's technical director. Peter Hartshorne will continue to act as assistant coach and team manager.
He is expected to make his debut in the game against champions Valletta on Saturday.
Patrick Curmi spent two-and-a-half years with Msida St. Joseph - a period during which they retained their Premier League status, also securing a top-six finish. He had previously coached Hamrun Spartans, Lija Athletic, Pietà Hotspurs and Marsa.
- Malta climbed three places in the Coca-Cola/FIFA World Ranking to end 2008 in the 147th place according to the final ranking list for this year which was published on Wednesday. At the end of 2007, Malta stood in the 136th place.
Amongst the other European countries, Malta is still ranked 50th. Just ahead of Malta is Estonia (119, up 12), Luxembourg (121, up 6), Azerbaijan (134) and Kazakhstan (137, down 12) while Liechtenstein (149, up 3), Faroe Islands (184, up 2), Andorra (194) and San Marino (201) lie behind Malta.
This year, Dusan Fitzel's side played eleven matches in all. The first commitments for the national team were in the Malta International Tournament which was played in February. Malta lost 0-1 to Armenia, defeated Iceland 1-0 and then suffered another 0-1 defeat to Belarus who won the tournament. Then came the historic 7-1 win for Malta over Liechtenstein - the largest win ever for Malta. A game during which Michael Mifsud scored no less than five goals.
However the incredible win over Liechtenstein was followed by a series of no less than seven defeats in which Malta scored just two goals and suffered nineteen goals. Malta lost 5-1 to Austria in a friendly match in Graz in May and then lost 2-1 to Estonia in a friendly match in Tallinn in August. A 0-4 defeat to Portugal at Ta' Qali and a 3-0 defeat to Albania in Tirana in September kicked-off Malta's commitments in Group 1 of the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifyng round. Malta then lost 3-0 to Denmark in Copenhagen and 0-1 to Hungary at Ta' Qali. In November, Malta hosted Iceland in a friendly match at the Hibernians Ground which the visitors won 1-0.
2009 will be another busy year for the national team. Malta hosts Albania on February 11 and then Denmark on March 28. The team then travels to Hungary for another World Cup qualifier on April 1. Malta entertains the Czech Republic in a friendly match on June 5 before another World Cup qualifier against Sweden in Gothenburg on June 10.
Another friendly match will probably be played in mid-August before playing the final two World Cup qualifiers against Sweden on September 9 at Ta' Qali and against Portugal away from home on October 14.
- Two Premier League players - Joseph Borg (Floriana) and Rupert Mangion (Hamrun) - were handed a one-match ban by the MFA Disciplinary Commissioner following last weekend's matches.
Borg is ruled out of the game against Sliema on Sunday while Magion will be missing the game against Marsaxlokk on Saturday January 3.
In Division 1, Ndubisi Chukunyere (Vittoriosa) was banned for two matches while Jeffrey Farrugia (Dingli) and Clayton Micallef (St. Patrick) were suspended for one match.
Charles Hili (Gozo), Jonathan Mifsud (Melita) and Patrick Camilleri (Mellieha) were suspended for one match in Division 2 while officials George Borg (Balzan) and Lawrence Borg (Lija) were suspended for two matches each.
Daniel Borg and David Galea (both Gharghur) were banned for one match in Division 3.
In the Youth League, Lee James Agius (Hamrun), Glen Brincat (Senglea), Elton Calleja and Matthew Cilia (both Zebbug) were suspended for one game while William Camilleri (St. Andrews) was handed a two-match ban.
- Former Malta international captain Salvinu Schembri passed away on Monday at the age on 85.
Schembri started his career with Sliema in 1943 where he stayed for two years before moving to Valletta. With the Citizens, he won two championships and was crowned top-scorer in season 1948/49. In 1953, Schembri moved back to Sliema Wanderers where he spent seven years. With the Blues, he won three championships, an FA Trophy and two Scicluna Cups. After leaving the Wanderers, he joined Hamrun Spartans where he played for one year before calling it a day.
Schembri played three times for the national team, besides over thirty matches for the MFA XI. He was the Malta captain in the first ever international game for Malta against Austria in February 1957.
Salvinu Schembri's son, Eric is a former player of Gzira United and Sliema Wanderers while his grandson is current Malta international player Andre Schembri who is currently playing for Carl Zeiss Jena in Germany.
Lord, grant him eternal rest.
- Valletta FC player Njongo Priso won the prestigious BOV Player of the Month award for November, after being acknowledged by journalists for his efficiency in helping his team aspire to keep up the challenge to retain the BOV Premier League title.
His sound performance was particularly noticeable earlier on in November, when Valletta FC successfully obtained maximum points over a span of 7 days in their two matches against Floriana and Hamrun Spartans. During these two matches Priso managed to increase his total tally of goals to six.
Alfred Pace, Head Business at BOV Republic Street Branch awarded the trophy to Njongo Priso, congratulating him for successfully being selected for the award. The BOV Player of the Month award provides a positive contribution to players’ career and their future aspirations in local football.
Priso showed his appreciation to the Bank for supporting local sports and encouraging players to do better in every game they play for their team. The player chose the Ursuline Creche as the beneficiary of the cash donation given by the Bank in association with this award.
- The Gozo Football Association will be hosting the 2010 edition of the VIVA World Cup - an international football tournament organised by the New Federation-Board/Nouvelle Fédération-Board. The NF-Board is a football association for teams representing regions or nations that are not recognised as sovereign states which are not FIFA members.
Addressing a press conference on Monday, Gozo FA president Alvin Grech announced that during the 5th Ordinary General Assembly of the NF-Board which was held on Sunday in Milan, the main item on the agenda was the selection of the hosts for the 2010 VIVA World Cup which would be held in June. There were three bids by Padania (Italy), Gozo and Kurdistan (Iraq).
Grech said that their presentation left a very good impression on those attending the meeting. The presentation focussed on what Gozo could offer, not only in terms of organisation but also as a touristic destination.
Padania also had a strong bid considering that they were aiming at hosting the final at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Milan and planned to use other important stadiums in Northern Italy, including Bergamo, Verona, Monza, Como, Varese and Lecco. They also had the backing of a number of Italian ministers.
It was therefore decided that Padania would organise the tournament in 2009.
The Gozo FA president announced that eight teams are expected to take part in the tournament which will be hosted at the Gozo Stadium and the Sannat Ground which will have a FIFA 2-Star artificial turf pitch in the coming weeks.
The teams which will be taking part will only be confirmed mid-way next year. Gozo FA secretary Joe Bajada revealed that Monaco, Samiland, Padania and Quebec have already expressed interest in taking part. Another tournament will be held for women in which there will probably be four teams taking part.
Alvin Grech said the association will be aiming at giving the best possible impression of Gozo through this tournament which will also help the island through sports tourism. He said that Gozo will be represented by the best Gozitan players, including those based in Malta.
Grech denied the organisation of this tournament could lead to any conflict with the Malta Football Association as it is not sanctioned by UEFA or FIFA. He said that Padania for example used players based in a number of Italian clubs, including Serie A and Serie B clubs.
The NF-Board was founded in 2003 and the VIVA World Cup was held for the first time in November 2006 in Occitania. Samiland emerged as winners after defeating Monaco 21-1. The second edition of the tournament was played in the Swedish town of Gallivare last summer and was contested by five teams representing Samiland, Arameans-Suryoye, Kurdistan, Padania and Provence. Padania won the cup after a 2-0 win in the final against Arameans-Suryoye. Samiland won the women's tournament beating Kurdistan in two games.
Gozo were approved as a provisional member of the NF-Board in September 2007. However they did not take part in this summer's edition of the VIVA World Cup.
This will not be the first time, the Gozo FA is taking part in an international tournament. A Gozitan selection had represented Malta in the UEFA Regions Cup in June 1999. Gozo XI lost 0-4 to Zapadne Srbije (Yugoslavia), 0-6 to Israel and 2-8 to Macedonia (Greece).
- Premier League Tarxien R. vs Msida SJ 0-2, Hibernians vs Qormi 3-0
- First Division San Gwann vs Vittoriosa S. 1-2, Dingli S. vs Pietà H. 1-1
- Second Division Mellieha vs Balzan Y. 0-1, Mgarr U. vs Melita 0-1, Gozo vs Lija A. 2-3
- Third Division Section A Gharghur vs Gudja U. 1-0
- Third Division Section B Siggiewi vs Kirkop U. 2-1
- Gozo - First Division SK Victoria W. vs Sannat L. 0-1
- During this Christmas period, precisely between 27th and 30th December 2008, Italian Serie A team, Atalanta B.C. in collaboration with Birkirkara F.C. Youth Nursery will be organising for the third time in Malta, a four day Football Stage at the New Infetti Artificial Pitches in Bontadini Street, Birkirkara.
This event will consists mainly of six training sessions of an hour and a half, delivered by professional Italian youth coaches working at Atalanta B.C. These coaches are amongst those who educated, prepared and launched players in Serie A namely Under-21 internationals Pazzini, Montolivo and Defendi and also guided and trained others who made history in football like Donadoni, Cabrini, Scirea, Inzaghi, Vieri and lots more. All participating players will receive a full training kit, technical report and various Atalanta BC merchandise.
Mr Massimo Biffi, Mr. Luca Silvani and Mr Matteo Moranda, three professional coaches who work with youth teams at Atalanta in Zigonia will be amongst the coaches present during this stage. 40 children will be participating is this year’s stage. It is surely the ideal gift for this Christmas and a memorable experience for all football lovers!
Birkirkara FC Youth Nursery and Atalanta BC Settore Giovanile expresses its gratitude towards Eurosport, Mr. Clean and JPM Bros Limited who has made it possible for these children to enjoy this memorable 4 day training stage.
- Premier League Sliema W. vs Hamrun S. 0-3, Floriana vs Birkirkara 1-2
- First Division Mosta vs Senglea A. 1-0, St. Patrick vs St. George's 1-0
- Second Division Sta. Venera L. vs St. Andrews 1-0, Birzebbuga SP vs Marsa 1-0
- Third Division Section A Fgura U. vs Mdina K. 1-1, Sirens vs Ghaxaq 0-1
- Malta will be meeting the Czech Republic in a friendly match away from home on June 5, four days before Malta meets Sweden at the Ullevi Stadium in Goteborg.
This will be the first friendly between the two countries as all previous encounters formed part of European Championship or World Cup qualifiers.
In the qualifiers leading to EURO 96, the Czech Republic won 6-1 at home but then was held in a goalless draw at Ta' Qali. The two countries met once again in the 1998 World Cup qualifiers with the Czech Republic winning 6-0 at home and 1-0 at Ta' Qali. Then in the 2002 World Cup qualifiers, Malta held the Czech Republic in a 0-0 draw at Ta' Qali, losing 3-2 in Teplice.
The Czech Republic are currently joint-second in Group 3 of the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Slovakia lead the way with 9 points, followed by the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia all on seven points.
The team, which is now coached by Petr Rada who replaced Karel Bruckner, was held in a goalless draw by Northern Ireland in Belfast, lost 2-1 to Poland away from home and then defeated Slovenia 1-0 in Teplice and San Marino 3-0 away from home.
Malta, on the other hand, is coming from a series of seven successive defeats. After losing 5-1 to Austria in Vienna and 2-1 to Estonia in Talinn in two friendly matches, Malta lost 0-4 to Portugal, 3-0 to Albania, 3-0 to Denmark and 0-1 to Hungary in four World Cup qualifiers. Last month, Malta lost 0-1 to Iceland in a friendly match. The next game is a World Cup qualifier against Albania in February.
- Two Valletta players were handed a one-match ban by the MFA Disciplinary Commissioner following the game against Qormi on Wednesday.
Luke Dimech and Ian Zammit were suspended and are therefore ruled out of the clash against Marsaxlokk on Saturday 20.
In Division 1, Carl Pulo (Pietà) and Edward Azzopardi (Rabat) were both banned for one match while Andrew Caruana Scicluna (Melita) and Junior Sank (Naxxar) were banned for one game in Division 2.
Christian Micallef of Attard was handed a two-match ban in Division 3 while Gwyn Vassallo, also of Attard, was suspended for one match.
In the Youth League, Eddie Catania (Attard), Kristen Falzon (Zurrieq) and Kevin Gambin (Mellieha) were banned for two matches while Marc Vella Bonnici (Attard), Alistair Attard and Thomas Cauchi (Mellieha), Lydon Fenech (Qormi) and Lee Galea (Zurrieq) were suspended for one match.
- The Malta Football Coaches Association would like to inform its members that the next instructional meeting is going to be held next Tuesday, 16th December at 19.30 at the Juventus Club Santa Venera.
All members of the association are urged to attend.
The lecturer is going to be Dr. Peter Fenech, vice-president of the Malta Football Association.
The committee members of the Malta Football Coaches Association wishes all its members and their families a Very Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year.
- Premier League Hibernians vs Tarxien R. 2-0
- The Birkirkara FC Youth Nursery is once again organising the Christmas Football Tournament between the 26th and the 30th December 2008 and 40 games will be played over the 5 days. This is the eighteenth year that the Birkirkara Nursery is organising such a tournament which now established itself as one of the most important tournaments in youth football. More than 300 boys from twelve nurseries will be participating in this year’s tournament.
The draws of the 18th Birkirkara FC Youth Nursery Christmas Tournament were held at the nursery premises on Tuesday 9th December 2008. After an introductory speech, Nursery Chairman Henry Bray stated that it is a great honour for Birkirkara FC Youth Nursery to organise its 18th Christmas Tournament. He emphasized the importance of fair play during these five days of the tournament. The tournament should be a football festival, delegates, parents and coaches should not exert extra pressure on the players.
Henry Bray thanked the Birkirkara Local Council, Eurosport, Mr. Clean, JPM Bros. Ltd and Paul Target Ltd the sponsors of the tournament. The draw was attended by Nurseries delegates. There are 10 teams that are going to participate in the Under 14 and 8 teams in the Under 12.
The draws are as follows:
Under 14: Group A: Paola Hibs , Floriana FC, St. Venera, San Gwann FC and Pieta H.
Group B: Birkirkara FC, Hamrun S., St. Patrick, Valletta FC and Sliema W.
Group 1: San Gwann FC, Pieta H., Melita and Hamrun S.
Group 2: Paola Hibs, Pembroke Ath , Valletta FC and Birkirkara FC.
The tournament kicks off on December 26 at 09.00am. There will be a march pass by all the participating nurseries from the St. Mary Parish Church on Boxing Day at 19:00 accompanied by St. Helen's Band. A spectacular opening ceremony will follow at the Infetti Training Grounds.
- A seminar for the coaches at the Pembroke Athleta Youth Nursery was held on Monday 8th December. This seminar has now become an important annual event in the nursery's calendar.
Experienced persons in the football and educational field were invited to give lectures to the coaching staff in relation to their duties in the Nursery. In all, there were 40 participants including committee members besides Coaches.
The guest lecturers for this year' seminar were Youth FA president Fr. Hilary Tagliaferro who spoke about the moral obligations and priorities of coaches in caring for the children under their charge, MFA national team doctor Dr David Attard who explained the difference between chronological and biological age and the long-term development programme necessary for the full development of our children and MFA vice-presdient and Grassroots Committee Chairman Architect Ludovico Micallef who spoke about the new requirements for nurseries who aspire for a Licence ‘A’ as directed by the UEFA Grassroots charter.
The Seminar was concluded by MFA Regions Director, Mark Falzon with assistant and Regions Coach Leonard Farrugia who lectured on ‘targets set for training’ and conducted a practical training session with the participation of most of the coaches present.
The Seminar ended with a lunch at the Pembroke Athleta Sports Club during which token presentations were made to the Speakers.
The Nursery wishes to thank all the lecturers for their very valid contribution, the Coaches and Committee members for their participation and the Bar people (Sammut family) for their help.
- Premier League Qormi vs Valletta 0-2
- Five Premier League players were handed a one-match ban by the MFA Disciplinary Commissioner following last weekend's matches.
The players are Paul Fenech (Birkirkara), Clyde Camoin (Floriana), Gaetan Spiteri (Hamrun), Alfred Effiong (Qormi) and Ivan Carapic (Tarxien).
Effiong is ruled out of the game against Valletta on Wednesday while Carapic will miss the derby against Tarxien on Thursday.
Fenech and Camoin will be missing the game between Floriana and Birkirkara on Saturday while Gaetan Spiteri is ruled out of the clash against Sliema, also on Saturday.
In Division 3, Karl Vella Petroni (Gharghur), Adrian Psaila and Malcolm Psaila (both Luqa) and Jonathan Grech (Sirens) were banned for one match while Jonathan Bilocca (Naxxar) and Leighton Grech (Hibs) were suspended for one game in the Youth League.
- For the second successive year, Pietŕ Hotspurs F.C. Youth Nursery organised a one-day Parents Tournament. This was held at Pieta football premises on Sunday 7th December 2008.
In this tournament, six men's teams and three ladies' teams took part. In the meantime, kids enjoyed themselves playing some mini games, consisting of 4 vs 4 matches and tennis football. In order to participate, kids paid a small fee with all proceeds going to Istrina.
Other activities included a Christmas bazaar and face painting.
The committee of Pieta Hotspurs F.C. Youth nursery would like to thank St. John Ambulance, coaches and parents for their help and support. Without their effort, this event would not have been a success.
- The MFA Technical Centre will be organising another Coaching Young Footballers (CYF) Course at Ta’ Qali Technical Centre on three days, the 16th (evening), 17th and 18th January 2009.
Application forms are available from the Technical Centre at Ta’ Qali during office hours.
Applicants should also submit a passport-size photo.
Since the number of participants for this CYF course is limited, applications will be accepted on a first-come-first-served basis.
Closing date for applications is Monday 12th January 2009.
- Second Division Melita vs Naxxar L. 6-1, Birzebbuga SP vs Gozo 2-2
- Third Division Section B Gzira U. vs Santa Lucia 0-0, Zurrieq vs Pembroke A. 1-0
- Premier League Qormi vs Marsaxlokk 1-3, Birkirkara vs Tarxien R. 1-0
- First Division Mqabba vs San Gwann 2-1, Pietà H. vs Rabat A. 3-0
- Second Division Balzan Y. vs Lija A. 2-0, Zebbug R. vs Mellieha 2-1
- Third Division Section A Gudja U. vs Luqa SA 2-0, Kalkara vs Xghajra T. 2-1
- Gozo - First Division Nadur Y. vs Victoria H. 2-1
- Premier League Hamrun S. vs Floriana 0-1, Valletta vs Sliema W. 0-0
- Third Division Section A Qrendi vs Fgura U. 0-0
- Third Division Section B Attard vs Zejtun C. 2-1
- Third Division Section A Gharghur vs Sirens 1-0
- Third Division Section B Kirkop U. vs Mtarfa 2-0
- Birkirkara defender Joseph Zerafa was handed a one-match ban by the MFA Disciplinary Commissioner after being sent off in the 0-6 defeat to Hibernians last Wednesday.
Zerafa is therefore ruled out of the Premier League clash against Tarxien Rainbows on Sunday.
Meanwhile in Division 1, three Senglea Athletic players were banned for two matches, namely Erin Azzopardi, Daniel Zahra and Jovin Abela. Senglea coach Jimmy Briffa was suspended for four matches.
In Division 2, Zebbug duo Keith Farrugia and Lawrence Vella were banned for one match while Liam Cutajar (Sta. Lucia) was suspended for one match in Division 3.
Dione Vella (Sta. Venera), Yanic Pace (Vittoriosa), Christian Magro (Xghajra), Dylan Abela and Nick Gollcher (both Pembroke) were suspended for one match in the Youth League.
- Gozo - Second Division St. Lawrence S. vs Xaghra U. 0-1, Oratory Y. vs Munxar F. 1-0
- Sliema Wanderers launched a publication marking the 100th anniversary from the foundation of the club during a press conference which was held at Teamsport, Iklin.
'Sliema Wanderers - Seklu ta' Kisbiet' is a hundred-page publication, edited by Albert Callus, which was commissioned by former Sliema Wanderers president and now honorary president Robert Arrigo.
Addressing the media, Albert Callus said this publication is mainly divided into three sections - the club's history over the past hundred years, the history of the club in the words of five former presidents and statistics related to the club's past hundred years.
Amongst the golden days for the club are definitely the 30s when Sliema won six leagues in eight years and seven leagues in eleven years. This also included a hat-trick of titles between 1937/38 and 1939/40. Similar success was obtained between 1963/64 and 1965/66 and once again between 2002/03 and 2004/05.
The five former presidents who are still alive, namely Edwin Meli, George Bonello du Puis, Dr Herbert Messina Ferrante, Joe Sullivan and Robert Arrigo, give their version of facts regarding the days when they led the club.
Under the guidance of Edwin Meli, Sliema won no less than twelve trophies in just four years. Bonello du Puis led the club for over twenty-five years - a period during which Sliema won no less than six championships and six FA Trophies besides other major honours. Dr Messina Ferrante brought success back to the club after a quiet period in the early eighties while Sullivan had managed to lure Carmel Busuttil to the club. Under the guidance of Robert Arrigo, the Wanderers won four Premier League championships, two FA Trophies and two Super Cups, amongst other major honours, therefore making Sliema the team which won the largest number of honours.
Rather than including a selection of great Sliema players, the publication focuses on the legendary Tony Nicholl who is widely regarded as the best player ever to wear the Sliema shirt.
Albert Callus concluded by thanking those who made this publication possible - namely Robert Arrigo, Sliema Wanderers officials, Sunny Borg for making available the several photos which appear in the book together with the sponsors.
Robert Arrigo then presented the publication to president Steve Abela and vice-president Nikki Dimech.
Three thousand copies are available and will be on sale as from next Saturday during the BOV Premier League game Sliema Wanderers vs Valletta. They will also be available on sale during the Robert Arrigo birthday event, the St. Julian's Bay Hotel and from other outlets in Sliema.
Meanwhile Steve Abela and Nikki Dimech revealed more details about the recent developments regarding the club's premises in Tower Road, Sliema and the new training grounds in Tigne.
Works at the club premises in Tower Road are well underway and should be completed in a few weeks' time. In fact it should be inaugurated in January as a sports bar and restaurant. The club's objective is that of making it once again a hub for Sliema supporters.
The new training ground in Tigne is expected to be ready by October 2009. The full-size artificial-turf pitch will be on top of a four-storey shopping mall in Tigne for what should be a unique venue. Talks are currently underway with the developers of the Tigne project - Midi over the quality of the artificial turf which is expected to be FIFA 2-star.
The complex should also include a 100m x 50m area for premises for the club and youth nursery and another area which could be developed as two 5-a-side pitches or a gymnasium.
- Holders Melita were drawn with Third Division side Gudja United in the quarter-finals of the quick-Keno Second & Third Division Knock-Out.
The four matches will be played at the Centenary Stadium on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 December.
In another quarter-final which will put against each other a Second Division sides against a Third Division side, Naxxar Lions take on Kirkop United.
Last year's finalists, Balzan Youths, will meet Mgarr United. Another clash between two Second Division sides is that between Zebbug Rangers and Sta. Venera Lightnings.
- The draws for the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Under-17 and UEFA Under-19 Championships were held in Nyon on Wednesday.
In the UEFA Under-19 Championship, Malta was drawn in Group 10 together with the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Cyprus.
The 52 entrants were split into 13 groups of four, to be played in autumn 2009 as one-venue mini-tournaments.
The top two in each qualifying round section, plus the two third-placed sides with the best record against the top two in their group, will progress to the Elite round, which will be played in the spring of 2010. The winners of the seven Elite round sections will join hosts France in the final tournament that summer.
On the other hand, in the UEFA Under-17 Championship, Malta was drawn in Group 8 together with the Netherlands, Northern Ireland and Andorra.
Fifty-two entrants were split into 13 groups of four, to be played in autumn 2009 as one-venue mini-tournaments.
The top two in each qualifying round section, plus the two third-placed sides with the best record against the top two in their group, will progress to the Elite round, which will be played in the spring of 2010. The winners of the seven Elite round sections will join hosts Liechtenstein in the final tournament that May.
- Premier League Birkirkara vs Hibernians 0-6
- Four Premier League players were handed a one-match ban by the MFA Disciplinary Commissioner following the weekend's matches. The four players are Zoran Levnaic (Hamrun), Stacey Vella (Msida), Joseph Chetcuti (Qormi) and Gilbert Agius (Valletta).
Levnaic is ruled out of the game against his former team Floriana on Saturday while Agius will be missing the game against Sliema also on Saturday. Chetcuti is ruled out of the match against Marsaxlokk on Sunday while Vella is out for Msida in the game against Tarxien on Sunday 14.
In Division 1, Clint Caruana (Dingli) was banned for two matches while Kurt Formosa and Ryan Mintoff (both of Dingli), Ryan Newell (San Gwann) and Simon Zerafa (St. Patrick) were suspended for one match.
Gordon Borg (Xghajra) was suspended for three matches while Antoine Muscat and Michael Magro (also of Xghajra) were handed a one match ban.
St. Andrews assistant coach Chris Montfort was banned for two matches while Xghajra coach Charles Cassar was suspended for four matches.
In the Youth League, three Hamrun players were handed heavy bans. Dalton Caruana and Larson Agius were banned for four matches while Karl Magro was suspended for three. Edison Falzon and Stefan Zrinzo (Dingli), Julian Spiteri (Senglea) and Clive Fenech (Tarxien) were all suspended for one match while Louis Cutajar (Marsaxlokk) was banned for two matches.
- The Malta Football Association announced change in fixtures for next week's mid-week programme from the BOV Premier League.
Qormi vs Valletta, originally scheduled for Thursday 11, is now due to be played on Wednesday 10 at the National Stadium.
On the other hand, Hibernians vs Tarxien Rainbows, which was due to be played on Wednesday 10 has been shifted to Thursday 11. The venue remained unchanged - the Centenary Stadium.
The two games were originally scheduled to be played during the weekend 15/16 November at the Hibs Ground but were postponed after heavy rainfall rendered the pitch unable to host the two games.
- For the eleventh consecutive year, Hamrun Spartans FC Youth Nursery is organising the Christmas Football Festival at the Victor Tedesco Stadium. This festival will be held on two days – on Monday 8 December 2008 and on Saturday 13 December 2008. Eighteen teams will be participating in the respective following age categories: born 2001, 1999 and 1997.
This Football Festival is considered as one of the most intensive in Malta as 33 games of 15-20 minutes each will be played over the two days. Around 230 boys and girls from 11 nurseries, together with the Hamrun nursery, will be participating in this edition.
The participating nurseries are Attard, Floriana, Melita, Naxxar Lions, Pieta Hotspurs, Rabat Depiro, San Gwann, St. Patrick, Sliema Wanderers, Tarxien Rainbows, Valletta and Hamrun Spartans. The draws were held during a presentation meeting which was held at the Hamrun Nursery Centre and can be viewed on the nursery website - www.hamrunnursery.com.
Since this Festival is now well known for its excellent organisation, it is now an annual event to which a number of nurseries look forward to. Proof of this is the fact that in a matter of a few weeks, the festival was fully booked. The opportunity for the kids to be play on the newly laid FIFA approved (2 Star) artificial turf of the Victor Tedesco Stadium was an added attraction.
Whereas the organisers encourage the element of competition between the participants, their main objective is to promote Fair Play during matches played.
Firetech Limited will be sponsoring the Christmas Football Festival for the fifth time. Established 14 years ago and forming part of a large group of companies, Firetech Limited specialises in fire, safety and security. The company operates from its new premises at Mill Street Qormi and employs 30 people on a full-time basis. Firetech offers its services both locally and in Libya. The main reason why Firetech Limited sponsors this event year after year is that it recognises the commitment and dedication of the organisers who run the nursery on a voluntary basis.
The nursery committee would like to thank Firetech Limited as well as the Hamrun Spartans FC Executive Committee, the company operating the Victor Tedesco Stadium, the Youth FA and the participating nurseries.
- Hamrun Spartans FC Youth Nursery is organising friendly football festivals at the Victor Tedesco Stadium to give the opportunity to its registered boys and girls to play first team football. It is the intention of the nursery to keep organising such festivals every month.
The first football festival was organised on Saturday 29 November and was sponsored by Pringles.
The festival started with games played between 8.30am and 10.00am and the following age categories took part and played against St Patrick: boys born 2002, 2003, 2000, 1999 and 1998. Girls born 2005 played against Marsa.
The second set of games were played between 10.00am and 11.30am and boys born 2001 played against St Patrick, boys born 1997 played against Floriana and boys born 1996 played against Paola Hibs.
The next festival will be held on Saturday 20 December. For more information on the Hamrun Nursery, please visit the nursery website www.hamrunnursery.com.