The Malta Independent 22 October 2020, Thursday

Malta Amateur Athletics Association proposes Marsa venue for Sport High Performance Training Centre

Friday, 23 February 2018, 10:41 Last update: about 4 years ago

The Malta Amateur Athletic Association is in the process of making preparations to issue, through The Malta Government Privatisation Unit, an invitation for the submissions of Requests for Proposals from private economic operators for the award of a concession to build, maintain and operate a Sport High Performance Training Centre.

The successful operator will be granted space at the Matthew Micallef St. John Athletic Stadium, Malta, on the basis of a sub-lease from the MAAA's  Emphyteutical deed.


The Malta Amateur Athletic Association (MAAA), has a long term lease for the management and control of the Matthew Micallef St.John Athletic Stadium.

The purpose of the High Performance Training Centres (HPTC) is to provide a focal point for the training and development of elite athletes and coaches.

Such Centres are managed and supervised to IAAF (International Association of Athletic Federations) standards. Thus, High Performance Training Centres are meant for high performing athletes who want to improve  their performances at European levels.    

Indeed, a number of HPTC-trained athletes have gone on to become medal winners at international competitions on the world scale.

To enhance the project, the MAAA is currently seeking to engage  an experienced highly professional technical consultant to give advice on the setting up and management of the HPTC.


It is the firm belief of the MAAA that the development of such a project would not only attract foreign athletes to come to train here, but would also enable Malta to attract major international athletic events which, to date, has not been possible due to lack of proper facilities.

The contract for this concession is envisaged to last for a period of 65 years.  As the site at Marsa is located within a sports complex that boasts a golf course, a tennis club, football and rugby pitches, and a horse racing track, among other sports disciplines, it has the advantage of being centrally located within two miles from Valletta and three miles from the airport.

The site being offered is the warm-up training area behind the stands at the Matthew Micallef St. John Athletic Stadium measuring around 180m  x 30m.

The main rationale underlying this decision is the belief that, in the hands of a private operator, the High-Performance Training Centre can be optimised to take advantage of invaluable business opportunities presented by the educational sports sector, sports tourism and a growing and dynamic health services industry. It should particularly enhance the services offered to the public as well as for visiting teams and individual athletes.

It is indeed appropriate to emphasise that the High-Performance Training Centre is meant to provide professional training facilities for athletes coming from all sports disciplines and not only Track and Field athletes.  

To this end, the selected operator will, in fact, be encouraged and offered space to be able to develop and offer training facilities for other sports disciplines. This is also important to ensure that the project is financially feasible.

The High Performance Training Centre needs to have at least the following facilities:

A standard 400m outdoor track (which already exists);  an indoor straight, eight lane track;  a Fitness Centre, (including a gym): a Sport Medicine Centre including a Therapeutic pool,  an athletes' hostel, and a Bar and Restaurant.


It is anticipated that the development of the HPTC at the Matthew Micallef St. John Athletic Stadium will focus upon the following:

(i) The conversion of the current warm-up 145m x 8-lane straight (within an area measuring approximately 180m x 28m) track into an indoor track facility.

(ii) The construction of athletes' accommodation (hostel x 100 rooms) that will offer on-site housing and meals.

 (iii) The Medical Centre that can provide medical treatment, physiotherapy (including sauna, therapeutic swimming pool, and Jacuzzi facilities) and scientific performance testing facilities.

(iv)  The development of an area of strength-training and gym facilities.

(v) The development of a bar and restaurant area for athletes, residents and the general public.

(vi) Other facilities that may enhance the centre such as an appropriate reception area, offices, meeting rooms and sports shop/s.

The HPTC would need to have highly qualified and experienced Coaches and experts who would be able to advise even the best and most experienced elite athletes.  

An important service of such a Centre would be the diagnostic laboratory, something which should provide a serious contribution towards the improvement of the level of the sport in Malta.

The MAAA has had this project on its back burner for more than 20 years now but this ambitious project could not be realised due to the fact that the Government contracts entered into with the various Sports Associations contained a clause saying  that the  "Sports Associations managing a government sport facility could not enter into partnerships with third (private)  parties for the lease  nor even for the management of the facilities."  This has now all changed with the introduction of the "Commercialisation of Sports Act" which was enacted in March 2017 enabling Sports entities to enter into partnership agreements with private companies for the further development of sports facilities.   

The MAAA is now in anticipation of the setting up of the necessary commission so that it would be able to submit its application, which, in the knowledge of the MAAA, would result in the official approval for the issue of the envisaged Request for Proposals with all the necessary technical details.

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