The Malta Independent 14 December 2018, Friday

‘Paqpaqli event was accident waiting to happen’ - former motorsport federation official

Jacob Borg Tuesday, 6 October 2015, 09:46 Last update: about 4 years ago
George Abdilla
George Abdilla

The lax approach to safety at the annual charity event Paqpaqli ghall-istrina was an accident waiting to happen, former Malta Motorsport Federation secretary general George Abdilla told The Malta Independent.

“You do not separate spectators from racing cars using flimsy police barriers. When we at the Malta Motorsport Federation organised races, we always had to use concrete New Jersey barriers, strong fencing, and not those riot control barriers.”

“When I was the general secretary of the Malta Motorsport federation, I had raised my concerns about the safety of this event, but the organizing committee back then had sidelined us. Now, my concerns have been proved correct unfortunately.”

“If we had a track with proper facilities this would not have happened, or else the consequences would have been lessened. You will always have accidents, risks can be lessened but cannot be removed completely.”

Events organised by the Malta Motorsport Federation, Island Car Club, Malta Drag Racing Association, Valletta Grand Prix and other clubs all have very strict safety standards, which the police enforce rigorously, he said.

“Charity events seem to be a totally different kettle of fish. There are two weights and two measures, and that is what I am angry about, because this could have been prevented.

“I am not attacking anyone. What I believe is that this was an accident waiting to happen. From what I saw there was an enormous lack of safety, and it is not the first time.

“The lack of safety was present year after year.

“You have to physically separate the track from people with something that is capable of absorbing an impact.”

“In my opinion such events should sanctioned by the MMF. The government and the police are not competent when it comes to these matters, they should leave it to the competent bodies. The accident would have happened anyway, what happened after was the problem.”

 

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