Darmanin Demajo meets Platini

Tuesday, October 19, 2010, 11:05

Nine weeks after being elected MFA President, Norman Darmanin Demajo has visited UEFA President Michel Platini at the European Confederation’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo

MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo

Maltese football development and UEFA’s HatTrick scheme were among the items discussed during the talks with Platini, which also included meetings between Darmanin Demajo and other senior UEFA officials.

The agenda included the development of football in Malta and the relationship between the MFA and UEFA, underpinned by the European body’s HatTrick programme which provides infrastructure and sporting support to UEFA’s 53 member nations.

Malta loves football and earlier this year the MFA and everyone involved in the game on the Mediterranean island celebrated a set of fine milestones – 100 years since national football competitions were first played in the country, the national league having kicked off in 1909/1910, and the 50th anniversary of the MFA’s membership of both UEFA and FIFA.

Of his visit to UEFA Darmanin Demajo said, ‘It’s an important personal moment for me. I see UEFA now in the role of the father, and the associations as the children. I feel UEFA’s support and UEFA has understood the balance between the associations and the clubs, and also between between football politics and passion.’

‘The HatTrick programme is a typical example of UEFA putting its money where its mouth is,’ the MFA president added. ‘HatTrick is also about educating clubs and associations. It is very important that UEFA has taken this role, and I’m very happy to feel UEFA’s backing.’

HatTrick funds are in fact being used particularly to bolster football’s infrastructure in Malta – in areas such as facilities, artificial turf surfaces, adequate floodlighting and player development.

‘Football is by far the most popular game in Malta, and always has been – not only the local leagues,’ said Darmanin Demajo, who added that fans on the island are also passionate about football elsewhere, citing Manchester United’s supporters club based in Malta as being the oldest supporters club outside England.

‘It’s been described as a football-crazy island’ said the MFA president. ‘Every village has its church….and its football clubs. There is terrific enthusiasm. We recognise our limitations, but this doesn’t reduce the passion. Success is not only measured by results. It is also measured by grassroots interest, women’s and youth football, and every youngster playing for his village. We are going to invest in the future.’

The question asked to Norman Darmanin Demajo is what wish does he have for Maltese football in the coming period. ‘I want our teams to win the respect of their opponents in every game we play. I want opponents to say that although we are a small nation, we have a big heart, and that it’s not easy to beat us. That is my dream.’

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