UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Malta: Talent identification and greater accessibility to football

Greater accessibility and increased participation in football, the pathway from grassroots to elite level, talent identification and social responsibility are the core aspects of the Inħobb il-Futbol (I Love Football) Foundation set up by the Malta Football Association (MFA).

UEFA Playmakers
UEFA Playmakers MFA

The foundation is at the heart of the develop and grow pillar of the MFA strategy, described by the association’s president, Bjorn Vassallo, as “a pivotal part of the association’s strategic plan as it prioritises aspects that are crucial for Maltese football to move forward in the long term. Our aim, through a unified game philosophy, is to perform better and obtain constant results.”

The Inħobb il-Futbol Foundation has embarked on a series of projects, including the launch of regional hubs. This is essentially a talent identification programme for promising young players in the 11–14 age bracket, who are being given the opportunity to train under the guidance of Malta FA-appointed coaches in addition to their sessions with their respective clubs.

Exciting project

UEFA Playmakers is another exciting project undertaken by the foundation, with the support of UEFA and Disney. Sessions, held at various primary schools across Malta and Gozo, involve girls aged five to eight, who are invited to venture into the magical world of Disney as they take their first steps on their footballing journey.

The foundation has also launched the Fun Fit Schools programme, another initiative aimed at encouraging schoolchildren to play football while promoting physical activity and a healthy lifestyle from a very young age. This programme follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the ministry of education.

New performance strategy

As part of its remit to implement a new performance strategy for youth development in collaboration with local clubs, the foundation has also taken over the organisation of the youth leagues for Under-17, Under-15 and Under-14 teams.

The MFA remains fully committed to using football’s unique ability to inspire and unite people by championing good causes and helping those in need. The foundation’s social responsibility department is currently working on several initiatives, including different programmes intended to promote social inclusion and the integration of refugees, a new UEFA HatTrick project called #mytime to encourage older people to remain active, and fundraising events as part of the nationwide Pink October-Movember awareness campaign organised by the Marigold Foundation.

This edited article originally appeared in UEFA Direct 196