Speech delivered by Spokesperson on Sport David Agius at National Sports Forum

Thursday, May 12, 2016, 20:58

Hon Chris Agius – Par Sec for Sports

Hon Luciano Busuttil – Chairman SportMalta

Mark Cutajar CEO Sport Malta

Our distinguished Foreign Friends

And to all of you present this morning who in one way or another are involved in sports.

Good morning.

As you all know I am the opposition spokesperson for sports. I was, I am and will probably always be involved in sports.

I am the son of a football player and FIFA referee,

The husband of a netball player and coach,

The father of two daughters: one who plays netball and the other practices both badminton and handball.

I myself train regularly and managed to run the Malta Half Marathon twice, I played various sports and was also an administrator  of a various sports club.

I decided to tell you all this about me and my family so that you will all understand the motivation that drives me to tell you that i believe that “sports should be a way of life…. sports should unite us…”

I work in this sector because i genuinely believe that we should all strive to bring about in our society “a culture where sports is a normality not an exception”

We should compete, between us, on who is capable to encourage our people to move, to be active, to participate in any kind of sports, to live a healthy lifestyle, to involve oneself in the running of our clubs, associations and federations.

We should, and I will be the first, to thank all those politicians, sports ministers and administrators who managed to find enough money, from our taxes, to build the necessary sports infrastructure in our country…. be it the Gzira football Stadium to Ta Qali National Stadium to the various 5-a-side football grounds, from the Neptunes waterpolo pitch to the National Pool, from The national school dedicated to sports to the Kottonera sports complex and to this Kirkop Sports complex that we are in today.

I thank all those who managed to create an atmosphere of inclusion and encouraged disabled persons to practice sports and today I specifically want to mention our special Olympic athletes.

I also want to thank those who worked and are still working on the various sports schemes that are available and which make most of our local athletes and club events, both locally and abroad, possible.

There are many more positive aspects which i cannot mention due to lack of time, but I can assure you that this was and is all “money well spent”.

And we need more….. and I will support wholeheartedly this government and any government to upgrade the existing facilities and build more sports facilities.

I will support my colleague Par Sec Chris Agius and SportMalta in their endeavour to try and get more funding for sports in Malta and Gozo.

We need more funding for sports. More funding from the national budget, from EU funds and also from private companies trough sponsorships.

Lately a legal notice was issued re bill boards in our streets. This legal notice, i am told, will have a negative effect on sports clubs and associations who use their premises to put up advertising and in return they obtain income from the advertisers. This will stop now that this legal notice is in force. The opposition and I will be asking the government in Parliament to reconsider and change the legal notice in order not to have a negative impact, among others, on sports and NGO’s.

I encourage all clubs and associations to be totally transparent and open in the way they spend the money they manage to obtain and in the way their financial books are kept.

I strongly believe that our country needs stronger laws against corruption and match fixing. I am part of the Task Force who will in the coming days conclude its work and come up with various concrete proposals including drastic change in our laws. A change that will strengthen the arm of the just and honest sports persons.

I positively acknowledge the fact that a white paper on the Commercialisation of sports facilities was issued. It needs to be beefed up, it needs changes and clarifications and i will be meeting the Par Sec for Sports next week to give him our point of view as opposition in order to have a bill that will be based on fairness, openness and accountability.

I also feel that it is the right time to update our sports act. I encourage each and every one here present to come forward with concrete ideas so that together we will manage to approve a bill that will give sports a stronger legal base.

Whatever we do. No matter how much we do. We will always need to keep on striving to

1.   Encourage more people to be active

2.   Focus more on our children and our youths

3.   Upgrade and build new sports facilities and

4.   Sustain and support our elite athletes to achieve better results for our country.

 I hope that the positive relationship that exists between Government and Opposition in this sphere will continue and will be strengthened.

This does not mean that I will not criticise where criticism is due. But i am sure that my criticism will be analysed and will lead to the necessary improvement as was the case in the last months.

As opposition we will continue, as we already did, to come forward with constructive and concrete proposals.

Infact in the coming weeks, as opposition, we will be organising a sports conference, a conference which will be another tool to put sports on top of the national agenda and for which all associations together with Sport Malta and Hon Chris Agius will also be invited.

Furthermore, we will be organising a new special event, an event where we will be acknowledging  those who work in the background, in the back office of sports and sports events.

We will organise a “sports recognition awards” ceremony aimed at delivering the message that everyone is important and everyone needs and can be recognised for his effort in the sport sector.

I conclude by thanking you all, each and everyone, for the time and energy you dedicate towards sports.

Let us continue to work together so that “sports would be our way of life…. so that sports would unite us all…”

Thank you very much.

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