The Malta Independent 18 November 2018, Sunday

Gzira United football club and the Manoel Island project

Malta Independent Sunday, 8 November 2009, 00:00 Last update: about 5 years ago

It was a pleasure seeing the restoration work that has been carried out the Manoel Island Fort during the open weekend held recently by Midi plc. The consortium are to be congratulated for doing such a great job and the general public is eagerly looking forward to a time when families will once again be able to enjoy their free time in those beautiful surroundings.

One entity that was directly affected by the Manoel Island project was the Gzira United Football Club and nursery.

Over the last 10 years, Club officials have held numerous meetings with Midi plc, government ministers and parliamentary secretaries regarding the lack of progress being made in awarding legal ‘title’ to their club.

Due to the Midi project, we are unable to maintain the premises to a reasonable standard, as we are unsure when work on our new football stadium at Manoel Island will begin. It is difficult enough to collect funds to run the club, let alone if it has to throw away hard-earned money in maintaining the property, when this could be demolished at any time.

Club officials feel that there is a total case of apathy towards Gzira United Football Club and the football nursery and, to some extent, towards the local residents as a whole.

We did not come to this conclusion without reason.

The club is run by volunteers, but the number of these has been falling every year and a visit to our premises will surely explain why! We have parents who are refusing to help out at the club and who, even worse, are enrolling their children in the many other nurseries that surround our hometown and which have much better premises than ours. We do our utmost to keep local children away from all the problems they may meet out on the streets, but we are finding this difficult, as our premises no longer attract youngsters. The number of children in our nursery has dwindled from 220 to 65.

We have even had parliamentary questions asked on our behalf regarding the granting of ‘title’ to our club so that we may apply for funds to upgrade our current premises to a decent standard and then transfer the title to the new premises, once they are ready. Even in this simple matter, the replies given have always been vague, and not once has any government representative mentioned that the ‘title’ was in fact being given to our club.

Why is it so difficult to put the minds of our members at rest by an agreement that, once the community ground is ready, this will rightly be transferred to us?

There could be a problem with pending Mepa permits. Mepa is currently the Prime Minister’s responsibility and we all remember how determined he sounded in the days before the last general election, when we were told that if he was re-elected, Mepa would see huge improvements. Now is the time to put those words into action and see why it is taking so long for the permits to be issued.

The building of this football ground is long overdue and would help solve the current pitiful situation we have regarding our current premises and would certainly enhance the bad image that, unfortunately, our hometown holds.

Tyrone Demanuele

Secretary

GZIRA UNITED FC

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