Malta Football Association
NEWS:
MALTA RISES TO MAMMOTH CHALLENGE TO EARN ACCOLADES - TO ENGLAND THE EURO YOUTH TITLE
May 22, 2014
Posted in:

When two years ago UEFA decided to assign Malta with the UEFA U17 European Championship some sceptics raised their eyebrows, arguing  that a small country like ours would not be able to face all the attendant risks such a task would entail.



 

 

Aware that our island did show the ability in past years to host high-profile events in the way of Congresses and other important administrative meetings of the European Confederation, UEFA was bold enough to present Malta with a new unprecedented challenge which demanded organisational skills on many fronts.

 

The Malta Football Association boldly took up the challenge and started planning in earnest a meticulous programme to ensure that the task would be accomplished without any hitches.

 

Malta was confident that it could handle a tournament of this magnitude.

 

A Local Organising Committee (LOC) was set up and in no time various officials were handed various responsibilities connected with the continental event. These finals also demanded the co-operation of the govenment authorities and other entities, too many to mention.

 

A publicity campaign, namely Reach Out, was devised to raise awareness of the event and attract the crowds to the stadia. This programme was also intended as an educational tool as well as to satisfy the social demands of the less fortunate of society residing in our country.       

 

A call for volunteers to see to every aspect of organisation was made and the response was impressive. Work went on for long weeks prior to the finals in May.

 

The Malta team

 

On the technical side the Malta team, whose presence in the last eight was on the strength of the island being the host country, was guided in its build-up to the best ability of our coaches headed by Sergio Soldano.

 

Eventually, our boys competed with dignity, never mind not being able to register a point in the group phase.

 

However, we did respond to the mammoth organisational challenge UEFA presented us with. Indeed its decision to give Malta the onus of these Finals turned out to be more than justified.

 

Venues were by and large up to the required standards, logistics were well-coordinated, attendances reached expected levels and ancillary services were efficient.

 

Perfect setting and a splendid epilogue

 

The final between England and the Netherlands, also watched by UEFA President Michel Platini and other UEFA high officials, turned out to be a splendid epilogue which was a tribute to the game. Composed football by both teams, a spirit of camaraderie and a perfect setting backed by a colourful crowd at Ta’ Qali National Stadium must have impressed Platini and his entourage while the whole set-up was a source of satisfaction for the top MFA officials, President Norman Darmanin Demajo and CEO Bjorn Vassallo, chairman of the local organising committee, both present alongside the UEFA top man.

 

The outcome of the final was a win on penalties for the young English Lions, their second Under 17 continental honour in four years, and an indication that the England teenagers could climb onto the big stage of top level national and international football.

 

At the end of it all UEFA must have been very satisfied that Malta passed the microscopic test of a big continental event, showcased on worldwide TV screens by Eurosport, with flying colours.

 

In the final reckoning, one can say that Malta earned the accolades of the participating nations and above all those of UEFA whose foresight and eventual decision to hand Malta this event were vindicated.

Official Sponsors
Commercial Partners