Football is one of Malta’s most popular sports, both for spectators and players. The sport has a national governing body, The Malta Football Association (MFA) – founded in 1900, which organises the Maltese national teams (men’s and women’s), the Maltese Football League (men’s and women’s) and the Youth teams and leagues.
Based right in the middle of Malta, at Ta’ Qali, the MFA looks after the National Stadium, the Centenary Stadium and the centre’s swimming pool, gym, training and physiotherapy facilities.
Due to Malta’s Mediterranean climate and therefore, having mild winters, many northern European clubs and teams make us of the facilities during colder months. The football season in Malta is similar to the rest of Europe playing from August until May.
Currently, the MFA comprises a total of 51 clubs, which compete in four leagues or divisions. The Premier League, which is sponsored by BOV (Bank of Valletta), has 10 teams and this league is also known locally as Il-Lig, Il-Kampjonat, or Il-Premjer. When the league started out in 1909, it was known as the First Division, but changed its name in the 1980s. Teams currently in the Premier League are Hibernians F.C., Marsaxlokk F.C., Birkirkara F.C., Dingli Swallows, Floriana F.C., Valletta F.C., Vittoriosa Stars F.C., Sliema Wanderers F.C., Qormi F.C. and Tarxien Rainbows F.C.
The League plays two rounds: in the first round the 10 teams play two fixtures against each other. Once each has played all their games, the league is divided into two and total points are then halved. The teams placing in the top 6 then play in The Championship Pool; the bottom four clubs play in The Relegation Pool – with the teams placing bottom and second-from-bottom being relegated to The First Division. Last year’s Champions were Hibernians. Many foreign players, such as Jordi Cruyff, Sunday Eboh and Sylvano Comvalius play in the Maltese Football League; England’s Sir Stanley Matthews coached Hibernians and played his final competitive game with them in 1970 at the age of 55.
In 1959, football in Malta was launched onto the international stage when the MFA joined FIFA in that year and UEFA in 1960. As Malta is so small, it has never progressed to the finals of any major international competition. If you want to read more about the latest soccer news, visit soccerleaguenews.com.
For more information about football in Malta, contact the MFA on (+356) 2338600.