"We have always sought to engage with the local community and refugees": Malta FA


ISCA and Malta FA

This week at the IRTS Networking Platform dissemination conference in Brussels, Peter Busuttil, Head of Football Social Responsibility at Malta Football Association (FA), presented award-winning initiatives that focus on inclusion and fun rather than elite performance - and revealed that Malta FA not only runs football programmes with refugees, but also cricket! We spoke to Peter about the association's EU-supported projects as part of our Integration of Refugees Through Sport series of interviews and stories from people working in the field of IRTS.

We would love to hear more about your project – could you briefly describe it and tell us where the idea came from? Who is the target group?
Our project follows on from two other similar projects that the Malta FA has been conducting since 2017 as part of its football social responsibility projects. One of these sport integration projects, All in for FOOTBALL, was also nominated for a FIFA Diversity Award. This is our third project that specifically engage refugees and communities, and our objective in each project is to create football communities not based on football excellence, but on social interaction through football. 

How long have you and your organisation worked in the field of Integration of Refugees Through Sport?
Malta FA has always sought to engage with the local community and refugees in all aspects and throughout the years; recently in a more constructive manner and also with long-term plans to keep each project going beyond the end-date. 

What have been your proudest achievements through your project and what impact has it had on the target group?
We are proud that our projects have resulted in the engagement of thousands of refugees and locals in our projects; the creation of amateur teams; the nomination for a FIFA diversity award for one of our projects; and recognition given by UEFA (we were awarded 3 refugee grants for similar projects). The participation of one of our refugee teams in the UEFA UNITY TOURNAMENT IN NYON this year was an incredible and unbelievable experience. The engagement of unaccompanied minors in a new team, LIEDNA FGURA FC, who participate in a local amateur league, was also a highlight. 

What’s next for your initiative?
The next activities we’re looking forward to are the creation of football inclusive hubs through a new EU funded project called PASS, the creation of football communities and the creation of a literacy toolkit for football. A new development of a project started last year called BALLUN (means ball in Maltese) with refugees who have just arrived or who for some reason or another are in detention centres waiting for legal processing. 

The engagement of more women in our projects where football is a tool for social interaction and wellbeing could be our next meaningful achievement!

Where can we find out more?
Malta Football Association, Football Social Responsibility 

Refugees get a taste of competitive football through Live Football Play Football project