The Malta Independent 22 July 2019, Monday

Dr Chris Bonett’s ‘Clubs on Top’ motto in MFA presidential election

Henry Brincat Tuesday, 25 June 2019, 23:10 Last update: about 26 days ago

What he believes in

 

  • 1. Self sufficient professional clubs
  • 2. Autonomous leagues
  • 3. Progressive technical plan
  • 4. Better development of children in structured nurseries
  • 5. Serious association
  • 6. More participation at grassroots level
  • 7. New national stadium with rebuilt North, South and West (Enclosure) stands at a cost of euro 30 million.
  • 8. Two football stadiums in the South
  • 9. Commercialisation of the MFA
  • 10. New national competition (part of FA Trophy)
  • 11. Setting up of Premier League Association (PLA) and Football League Association
  • 12. New MFA company
  • 13. Setting up a Finance Committee using FIFA and UEFA models.
  • 14. Futsal, Beach Soccer and Women's football - new venues and more participation
  • 15. Better prize money for all clubs, especially the top five of the Premier League who will bag euro 20,000 each

 

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It took Dr Chris Bonett almost three hours to explain to the media (including questions and answers) what he intends to do if he is elected MFA president next month.

He said his decision to contest the election was made last January and from then on he went on to visit clubs, member associations and all those related to the game of football. "I listened to them hearing what they expected the President to do in the next three years.

"Their proposals and mine, coming after my earlier experience at the MFA and my last two years as UEFA integrity officer, helped me and my team in no small measure in formulating this ambitious programme. If the targets I have set are not reached, then I will leave," he said.

Dr Bonett main priorities are listed elsewhere on this page.

In the first three years, he wants to see the top clubs becoming self sufficient, therefore, working on a professional level.

Here he is proposing the appointment of an administrator for every club and to complete the first phase of the National Stadium project most of which is to be demolished and rebuilt through a new company to be set up by the MFA. "In future, the clubs will be enjoying the profits from this project," he added.

By the sixth year, he said every club would have its own playing field with a new artificial surface. He also said that the National Stadium project should be concluded and expected all Premier League clubs to be operating on professional lines.

In the third and last term, all the clubs will be certified as self sufficient and the second and third division clubs will be operating on a semi-professional basis.

He wants the clubs to appoint a director on a full time basis with a salary of euro 15,000 to be paid by the MFA.

The MFA will also set up a member services department to help the clubs have a direct access for their needs.

He announced the setting up of assistance schemes to compliment those already in existence.

 

New company

The National Stadium, the swimming pool, the MFA Sportsplus Ltd, the Ta' Qali Fitness Centre, the Millennium Clinic, the Trophies Lounge and the MFCC offices in the Millennium Stand (on lease) will form part of the new company.

The MFA will have 45 per cent of the shares, the remaining 55 per cent, going to the clubs. The Board of Directors will consist of a chairman, 4 from the MFA and 4 from the clubs. It will also have a Chief Executive Officer while all the present MFA employees working in the commercial sector, will be transferred to the new company.

 

The Leagues

These will all be autonomous after the setting up of the Premier League Association (PLA) and the Football League Association (FLA).

He also said a new competition is to start, probably next year, to compliment the FA Trophy. This will be a KO competition in August and September for second, third division teams and Gozitan clubs with the semifinalists joining the remaining clubs in the FA Trophy from December.

He also wants the MFA to establish an Academy so that youngsters are brought up from 11 to 17 years of age to develop them into professional footballers to be able to join foreign clubs, thus playing abroad.

Dr Bonett added that the MFA will continue assisting member associations, the referees' sector, women's football, futsal and beach soccer, for which a new pitch will be laid out in the lower part of the Ta' Qali training grounds.

 

Progressive technical plan

This will include the launching of a national football syllabus as well as the setting up of a Scouting Department to identify the best talented youngsters.

The Nurseries will be divided into 6 regions (five in Malta and one in Gozo) in the Under 11 level. And 6 MFA Centres will be established which will hold football festivals from which the best youngsters will be selected to continue training together till the end of the season.

 

The Academy

This will lead to the setting up of the Academy which, after boarding school hours, will prepare the children for their life as professionals, among others. The Academy will also provide the youngsters with scholarships and provide financial assistance to the parents of the players. Moreover, it will also prepare the children to continue a career after their football days are over.

 

The President

Dr Bonett believes the President should be there on a full time basis to see for the needs of the clubs. He is not against the President representing the Association at FIFA and UEFA levels, but his priority should be Maltese football. He should treat one and all on a same level playing field.

He also spoke about the need of having a new statute for the association and the establishment of a new fixed term for the presidency. "Eight or nine years are both good to me, but it definitely should not be for more than 10 years," he added.

He said he would convene the Council more regularly and the meetings will consist of football talk and not on ball boys here and there.

He also made it clear he would make the budget and the annual accounts public, if he were to be elected.

He said all this has to be done through five principal values:

1.   Giving power to the clubs

2. Commercialisation

3. The game at the centre of the MFA's work

4.   The development of clubs and players on a professional levels.

5.   Constant communication between the MFA and the clubs.

At the end, he said if elected, he will be doing his utmost to see Malta winning Group D of the European Nations League in 2026 and will also do what is needed to be done to increase the attendance for local football matches, making people once again passionate about the local game.

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