[WATCH] New national sports strategy aims to raise the bar, trigger culture change in Malta

An additional €36 million to be invested in sport facilities and athlete training by 2020

The new strategy will see €36 million invested in the sector
The new strategy will see €36 million invested in the sector

A new national sport strategy is setting its targets on integrating physical activity in the lives of Maltese people and encouraging a generation of athletes to reach the highest level and experience success at international events.

The strategy will cover a 10-year period and will see up to €30 million invested in new sport facilities, as well as €6 million invested in athlete training. This will also include brining foreign coaches to Malta to help raise the bar locally by 2020.  

This announced investment will be over and above the €11 million granted to SportMalta annually.

The €36 million being invested will come from the citizenship scheme fund, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said, adding that this showed how such funds were being used to advance the sector.

Sport parliamentary secretary Clifton Grima said that the launch of the strategy was like the planting of seeds, the fruits of which would be a leap in quality, a change in mentality, and success abroad.

"We want positive results for Malta to become an expectation," Grima said.

The strategy strives to: build a more active and healthy Malta, stimulate a new sporting culture, enhance the competence of all stakeholders, transform the island into a centre of sporting excellence and ultimately lead to success at top international competitions.

It is based on the pillars of education, participation and quality of life, high-performance, integrity, industry, improving facilities and giving due attention to Gozo, including establishing regional leagues and developing multi-sport hubs on Malta's sister island.

Muscat said that through the strategy, Malta was aiming to compete at all levels and in all sports.

He said the sector was looking at 2023 - the year Malta will be hosting the small nations games – to reach the strategy’s first targets.

“We should not look at sport only as a hobby but as one of the main pillars in our country’s social life of our country," Muscat said, as he highlighted that the strategy provided the framework to help the country achieve its goals in this regard.