Worrying attendance figures for Maltese football

Maltese football attendances are on a downward spiral with just 169,523 attending football matches over the past season. This is an 11% rise over last year but is still well down from previous seasons.

In three separate meetings the Malta FA administration led by President Bjorn Vassallo, presented statistics and financial details to member clubs’ officials from the respective three divisions in the National Championship, namely the Premier League, the Challenge League, and the National Amateur League.

An overview of the attendances registered for the domestic leagues, the Association also gave interesting information related to the level of competitiveness, sporting regulations, player registrations, and appearances for homegrown (locals) and non-homegrown (foreign) players.

Gates Income, Match costs, UEFA Solidarity Payments, and various other assistance schemes including the Development Pot Scheme results were also presented and analyzed between the MFA officials and the clubs’ representatives.

For the 182 matches in the Premier League, there has been an increment of fans attending at the stadium of 22% compared with the previous football season. Arguably the Floriana v Ħamrun Spartans match contested on the 27th of April, attracted the biggest crowd puller of the season with a total of 9090 spectators making their way to Ta’ Qali. Ħamrun Spartans, Floriana, and Valletta were the clubs that pulled the biggest crowds over the season 2023/24 in review.

The Challenge League also registered an increase of 5% in attendance over a full season compared to the previous year.

The highest attendance in this division was recorded for the match between Melita and Żabbar St. Patrick contested on the 13th of April, a game that was deemed as a Championship decider between the two most competitive sides in this division and that eventually got promoted, with Melita crowned Champions and Żabbar SP as runners-up. A total of 1259 fans attended this decisive match.

In contrast to the top two tiers of domestic football, the National Amateur League, suffered a decline of 9% in crowds throughout the season. On March 10th the highest attendance in this division was recorded in the match between Qormi and Mġarr United.

The overall total attendance of spectators in Stadia for the three divisions was 169,523 people, which shows an increase of 11% when compared with the previous season 2022/23.

The presentations also gave final details concerning the Development Pot Scheme that financially rewards local clubs investing in young talent into their starting line-ups, under-aged local players who would be still eligible to represent the Malta national teams in the U21 and youth selections.

The clubs that benefited most from this incentive from all divisions in the National Leagues are Santa Lucia, Naxxar Lions, and Mosta in the Premier League, Pieta’ Hotspurs, Attard and Żejtun Corinthians in the Challenge League, joined by San Ġwann, Qormi and Xgħaira Tornadoes in the National Amateur League.

Premier League Champions Ħamrun Spartans with a total of 14 registered non-homegrown players at any one time were the club that had the most foreign players registered on their books, whereas Floriana and Naxxar Lions had the least number of foreign players registered throughout the season, with a total of 11 players each.

The total expenditure of €1,477,000.00 was spent over 690 matches to cover logistics and organization of domestic matches in all senior male competitions, including all the cup competitions organized for the professional and semi-professional clubs but also for the amateur teams.

The Malta FA assisted its member clubs with a subsidy of €647,000.00 thus covering an overall 44% of the total costs involved over the 10 months.

As of Season 2024/25, the Premier League will be organized by the Malta Premier League, whereas the Malta FA shall continue organizing the rest of the domestic football competitions for men, women, youths, and juniors, starting in August 2024 with an end of the season planned for May 2025.  

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