Malta Football Association
NEWS:
“PLAY IT STRAIGHT” – Football Integrity Seminar
Feb 16, 2016
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Photos: Joe Borg
Photos: Joe Borg

  • Photos: Joe Borg

 

This educational session was held at the Centenary Hall in Ta’Qali as part of the ongoing campaign against match-fixing. The national teams coaches and technical staff, together with representatives from various football clubs attended the seminar.


 

The guest of honour was Simone Farina, the Italian footballer who had exposed a match-fixing ring during his playing days. He is now a Fifa ambassador and participates at events sharing his personal experience. Farina was invited over to Malta  by  Sportmalta on the occasion of the Sport Malta Awards 2016.

 

The seminar was opened by Dr Chris Bonett, MFA Vice President, who welcomed Simone Farina and acknowledged the courage he had in confronting criminality in football.  Dr.Bonett said that MFA look at this meeting with Farina as the start of future collaboration which would enhance the association’s educational efforts.  Dr Bonett pointed out the commitment the association has in safeguarding the game of football with all its powers.

 

Franz Tabone, MFA Integrity Officer, delivered a presentation titled “Play it Straight”, explaining the responsibilities and obligations that footballers, coaches and officials have when confronted with corruption attempts. Tabone also highlighted the association’s initiatives in its match-fixing awareness campaigns and also dealt on the local and international collaboration which has been beneficial in tackling the adverse situation over these last few years.

 

Simone Farina spoke in some detail about the episode which changed his life. He had been tempted to throw a match by one of his own team mates. The financial offer was so big that it might have corrupted others to co-operate, but he would not have any of it and reported the bribery attempt and had to face serious repercussions, even moving out of Italy. He is now Youth development director at Aston Villa FC in England. He feels that although he had and is still suffering some consequences, he feels proud about his action.

 

Mr Mark Cutajar, Sportmalta CEO, explained how his organisation takes the opportunity to invite a special guest of honour to the annual Sport awards, whilst ensuring that some sporting benefit is derived from this occasion. In fact Simone Farina visited schools and training grounds and participated in activities involving youngsters and spoke about his footballing profession.

 

Hon Mr. Chris Agius, Parliamentary Secretary for Research, Innovation, Youth and Sport, concluded the seminar, thanking MFA for this important opportunity and other events held in the past, to educate coaches, players and club officials about the dangers of match-fixing in our game.  Hon. Agius praised Simone Farina for having the strong will to expose corruption and that he is an example to all. He offered his assistance for any event which Simone Farina feels that can organised in Malta together with his present football club.  Hon Chris Agius also praised the MFA for having taken the lead in bringing together organisations to form the Task Force which is now working on strengthening laws and working together in the negative environment of match-fixing.

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