Premier League wants new logo, Muscat suggests Maltese falcon replaces cross

Premier League launches call for submissions for brand identity with new logo and mascot that can be iconic for Maltese footbal

Malta’s Premier League is seeking a new brand identity for the island’s top-tier division, with a logo that could ditch the hackneyed eight-pointed cross... for the fabled Maltese falcon.

Seeking to emulate recognisable identifiers such as the English Premier League’s lion, Premier League Limited said it wants a similar iconic image for its new logo.

Premier League Limited (PLL) is a joint venture between the Malta Premier League teams and the Malta Football Association. Its current chairman is former prime minister Joseph Muscat.

The new top football league will be known as Malta Premier, with the title of its sponsor prefixing the name.

The PLL said it wants the Malta Premier to be identified directly with the country, tying it to both history and pop culture.

“While the Maltese Cross is undoubtedly the most identifiable symbol, a massively underutilised icon is The Maltese Falcon, whose name and image has considerable international resonance. Moreover, the choice of a mascot-related logo, as in the case of the English Premier League’s Lion, makes the case for an iconic image,” Muscat said.

The winning submission for the PLL brand identity will be awarded €2,000 while the winning submission for a new championship trophy design will be awarded €1,000. Submissions must be made electronically to the PLL, by 15 March. The winner will be announced on 31 May.

Malta has made saturated use of the eight-pointed cross, a symbol of the Knights of the Order of St John that was appropriated by both colonial governments and Malta’s post-Independence administrations for national imagery.

Despite its connections to the aristocratic, theocratif chivalric order, the eight-pointed cross remains in currency, used for the Television Malta logo, as well as being a long-time MFA logo. The cross also tends to overshadow other national symbols such as the George Cross medal emblazoned on Malta’s national flag.

The Maltese falcon, on the other hand, is iconic insofar as it represents another Knights-era reference: the annual tribute paid by the Order of St John to Charles V, monarch of Sicily, for the granting of Tripoli and Malta to the knights.

But the falcon made it Hollywood after the the 1930 Dashiell Hammett novel The Maltese Falcon, was adapted in the 1941 film of the same name, starring Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor. In the detective novel, a small golden statuette of the Maltese falcon provides the motive for intrigue.

Other leagues that make use of animal mascots include the Russian Premier League, which employs a bear motif, and the Scottish Professional League, which also uses a lion. The French national football association employs the iconic Gallic rooster, a national symbol of France as a nation.