The sorry state of motorsport administration in Malta

Wednesday, May 16, 2012, 9:42

by Alfred A. Farrugia

The President of the Malta Motorsport Federation (MMF) ought to consider the possibility of tendering his resignation, if he considers it appropriate to do so, given what he has written – and what he has not written – on Facebook, a public domain, on 4th May.

As the MMF president has used the term “we”, those members of the MMF Executive Council who are implied in his statement and in the negotiations concerning karting in Malta, need to consider resigning as well.

Among other things, the MMF president wrote “There was a ‘Special’ Budget allocated for this temporary immediate solution negotiating from an 80K figure to a 126K figure and the 350K Budget permanent solution.”

According to the information laid on the table of the House of Representatives by the Hon. Minister of Education on 7th May, in reply to Parliamentary Question number 34175, “The Malta Motorsport Federation (MMF) proposed the expenditure of approximately 100,000 euro to develop a temporary track and 250,000 euro for a permanent karting track on the land allocated to the Island Karting Club (IKC) in Hal Far”.

There is a substantial difference between these two versions. The MMF president has even highlighted this difference when he wrote “we received a call informing us that the money we are using for the temporary track, is from the 350K (and not from the special Temp Budget) and this was exactly Saturday 3rd March 2012 morning … Do not even think that MMF did not expressed it’s anger on this new outcome”.

So what exactly did the MMF propose? What right did the MMF have to propose anything about the land allocated by the government to a Club that it had suspended? So the driver who alleged that the MMF wanted to take control of the IKC land when he was addressing a press conference before participating in a foreign event, was not totally wrong!

What the MMF president did not write on Facebook, but was revealed by the Minister of Education, is that the MMF sought the consultancy of foreign expert Peter Hansen! Why did the MMF leadership need to consult a foreign expert to purchase a number of karting barriers and to paint white lines on the tarmac of the braking area of the drag racing facility? Does this reflect the expertise of the MMF leadership in karting? The administration of motorsport in Malta at the highest level is in a very sorry state when it comes to karting.

If the MMF leadership had sought the services of a foreign consultant to attract foreign direct investment to motorsport in Malta, I would have been the first to applaud it. But we do not need foreign consultants to beg the Malta Sports Council (Kunsill Malti ghall-iSports – KMS) for funds.

Mistaken process

The Hon. Minister of Education and the Hon. Parliamentary Secretary for Sports are in an unenviable position when it comes to motorsports. They are surrounding themselves with people who do not have enough experience, particularly in speed events.

It is not known exactly who is trying to give such people more power than they may handle. In the concluding paragraph of the Minister’s reply to PQ 34175, we find that the allocation of the 250,000 euro for the permanent karting circuit on the land allocated to the Island Karting Club is “subject to an agreement between the KMS and the representatives of motorsport in order to make sure that the investment be enjoyed by the highest number of sports people and disciplines so that the land transferred to sports clubs (or associations) be maximized”.

Forget that the Ministry of Education boasts about the millions of euro that it has transferred to other disciplines. IKC has always shown its willingness to allow other clubs to use its facility when it is developed. It does not need the assistance of MMF that needs foreign consultants for the most basic needs. Has the Minister sought a similar agreement with other sports clubs?

In August last year, to take one example, the Hon. Prime Minister inaugurated the new Gharghur Football ground with synthetic turf. Did the Minister of Education impose a similar agreement on the Gharghur FC? Are all the footballers of Malta given an absolute right to train or play at the Gharghur football ground whenever they want? How many football clubs signed an agreement with the Gharghur FC to use the new ground before the government invested in the synthetic turf there? Why this discrimination against the IKC?

It makes sense for government investment to be maximized, but the agreement concerning the permanent karting circuit on the land allocated to IKC at Hal Far should be between KMS and the IKC.  All interested clubs and associations may be kept fully informed by the IKC, as the Gharghur FC is doing. The Gharghur football ground is open for booking, and there is a football school. Why should the process be different for the IKC?

The implementation of the Budget allocation for the IKC permanent karting circuit at Hal Far should start without further procrastination. 4 months, not to say 6 or 10 years, have already been wasted.’2

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