The Malta Independent 17 July 2019, Wednesday

Valletta FC to get 15,000 square metres of land in Luqa from the government

Albert Galea Sunday, 17 February 2019, 08:00 Last update: about 6 months ago

A tract of land of around 15,000 square metres in Luqa will be transferred by title of temporary emphyteusis to Valletta FC, the Parliamentary Secretariat responsible for sports confirmed to this newsroom.

This land will be replacing a 25-acre or so tract of land in Hal-Farrug the football club was given in 2011. The parliamentary secretariat said that once the land in Luqa is handed over to Valletta FC, the club will then relinquish its right to the land in Luqa which, the secretariat said "was never viable for sports facilities" and was given to the club by the previous PN government.

ADVERTISEMENT

"In fact, when the Government of that time had given the land to Valletta FC, it was fully aware that the land could never be developed for Valletta FC's purposes," the secretariat said adding that as a result of this, the current government was giving the club an alternative site.

Valletta FC was given the land in Hal-Farrug in 2011, after an agreement was reached between the then PN government and the then PL opposition. The land was given to the club on a 49-year lease and in 2012, the club had submitted a proposal for a 2,372-capacity stadium on the site.

However, since then, the club has attracted investment from afar. At the beginning of the current season, a consortium of Dubai-based investors called Sanban Group acquired 70 per cent of the club's shares. The group came with lofty ambitions, pledging to take Valletta FC into the Champions' League group phase while also building a mega sports complex for the club to call home.

There was a snag though; the Planning Authority poured cold water on the club's planned €250 million investment, saying that the land the club had in Hal-Farrug was only suitable for a football ground and not the huge sports village being proposed by the club.

Speaking on the sports programme Replay on NET Television, Valletta FC President Victor Sciriha explained that the Arab investors had big plans for the club, one of the major ones being this sports village which would include not only a stadium, but also a hotel, restaurant, gym, futsal complex and a full-blown sports academy complete with more footballing facilities.

This level of investment, he said, was necessary if the club wanted to make the shift to be a professional football club.

The Planning Authority had however been clear; such a sprawling development could not take place at the site due to regulations on the environment and development strategic plan, with the only development permitted for the area being extensions to the airport.

As a result and following a very quiet January transfer window, rumours were circulating that the Arab investors had pulled out of the club.

However, these rumours were quashed by Sciriha last week during an interview on the sports programme L-Argument, which airs on One TV. Sciriha said the agreement between the club and the Arab consortium still holds good but added that it hinged on land that the government would be giving the club at the end of March.

However, if for some reason the Arab investors do not follow through with their proposals, he said, there are other foreign investors who are interested in the club.


  • don't miss