The Malta Independent 26 February 2024, Monday
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Government appoints Labour backbencher to chair Sport Malta

Friday, 1 December 2023, 15:04 Last update: about 4 months ago

The government has appointed Labour Party backbencher Omar Farrugia to chair the national sports agency Sport Malta.

The Education Ministry said in a statement that Education Minister Clifton Grima had congratulated Farrugia for his appointment as Sport Malta’s chairperson.

Farrugia, who was elected to Parliament for the first time in the 2022 general election but was not given any role in Robert Abela’s Cabinet, will replace Professor Andrew Decelis, who is the Director of the Institute for Physical Education & Sport at the University of Malta.

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Decelis was appointed as Sport Malta chairperson in September 2022 for a term of three-years but resigned from the post a year later.  It is not clear why he tendered his resignation.

In the government’s statement, Grima referred to the importance of the Sport Malta as an authority to continue to grow the culture of sporting excellence in Malta and increase sports participation at all levels.  He said that sports has a crucial role when it comes to people’s physical and mental wellbeing and is a key factor in the unification of communities.

Sport Malta welcomed the appointment and thanked Decelis for his work during his tenure.

The Nationalist Party meanwhile criticised the appointment, saying that it was nothing more than a move to keep those close to the Labour Party happy.

“With this appointment, the list of Labour MPs with another salary from the people’s money besides their Parliamentary honoraria continues to increase,” the PN’s spokesperson for sport Graham Bencini said.

He questioned why the government could not find a person more involved and qualified in sport who is politically independent to be chairperson of such an important entity.

The PN also thanked Decelis for his time occupying the role and wished him luck for other sector within sports that he is involved in.

The appointment of a backbencher to a role in a government entity goes against the recommendations of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which were also endorsed by the Standards Commissioner in his latest report regarding the appointment of Rosianne Cutajar in a consultancy role within the Institute of Tourism Studies.

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