The Malta Independent 26 November 2022, Saturday
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Cost of deal between Malta and Manchester United remains under wraps

Albert Galea Monday, 3 October 2022, 08:26 Last update: about 3 months ago

The cost of the deal between Malta and English footballing giants Manchester United has remained under wraps, as the Tourism Ministry has for weeks refused to answer questions posed by The Malta Independent on Sunday.

The government – through its tourism promotion arm VisitMalta – first agreed the deal with Manchester United, which is one of the most followed sporting brands in the world, in 2019 when then Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi signed a three-year contract for Malta to be the club’s official destination partner.

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The deal included the VisitMalta brand being given exposure during the Club’s home matches and digital marketing channels, social media and on printed media worldwide.

However, the cost of the deal was never divulged despite repeated attempts by the media to obtain answers – and the same pattern has followed suit now, almost two months after the deal was renewed.

A new contract between the government and Manchester United was announced on 6 August, renewing the partnership for a further five years.

It was signed by Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo, who has already been criticised somewhat for being accompanied to Manchester for the signing by an entourage of another 10 people as per reports by The Shift News, and once again no details were provided on how much the deal cost the government.

The MTA had denied that the government paid 20 million for the first three years of the deal, but hadn’t provided the exact figure.

The Tourism Ministry told The Shift that the details of the latest five-year deal could not be divulged as they were confidential and disclose trade secrets and information of a commercial value.

Freedom of Information requests were also rejected on this basis.

In The Malta Independent on Sunday’s case, the Tourism Ministry didn’t even bother to reply to any of the questions sent, despite reminders being sent between the second week of August and the present day.

The Nationalist Party’s tourism spokesperson Robert Arrigo suggested in an event hosted by the Malta Chamber this week that the deal had cost Malta some €16 million – but this did not elicit any reaction from the government in the form of a denial or otherwise.

 

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