Maltese football is controlled by the Malta Football Association (MFA) and, like it was in a lot of countries around the world, it was introduced by the British. The MFA was formed in 1863 and they are in charge of the Maltese national team as well as organising the semi-professional Maltese Football League. Here we are going to focus on the referees that make the game possible. They might get a lot of stick for the decisions they make, but without them it would not be possible to have football matches.
The Malta Football Association's Referees Committee
This part of the association is in charge of referees in Malta and it is made up mostly of former referees who have plenty of experience. The committee meets quite often to discuss matters that are in the best interests of referees throughout Malta. They will discuss issues such as retention and recruitment of referees, media matters, referee training courses as well as physical, mental, and technical preparation. The referees in Malta go through a rigorous training process to ensure that they are up to the standard that is expected of them as well as to make sure that they are fit enough to last the whole 90 minutes.
UEFA Convention on Referee Education and Organisation
The MFA were invited to join this program in 2009, which is good proof that the local referees are meeting the high standards that the football governing bodies expect. On the International FIFA Lists, there are four referees and eight assistant referees that represent the MFA on the Men’s Referees’ List, there are two referees that represent the MFA on the Men’s Futsal Referees’ List, and there are two referees that represent the MFA on the Beach Soccer Referees’ List. Alan Mario Sant, who is a former FIFA referee, was appointed at the Chairman of Malta’s Refereeing Department in 2020.
Physical Fitness is Very Important
Malta’s Referee Committee is definitely aware that it is extremely important for a referee to be in top physical condition. Ronald Zammit is the man in charge of making sure that all of Malta’s referees have the stamina to last an intense 90-minute match. Zammit is extremely experienced and he participates in the yearly Referee Instructors Development Program which are organised by UEFA to improve fitness coaches across Europe. In short, Zammit certainly knows what he is doing when it comes to making sure that the referees in Malta are up to scratch with their fitness levels. So, when you are watching your local team play in a very important match, you definitely do not need to worry about whether the ref will be able to keep up with all of the action.
Furthermore, FIFA fitness exams for all the different referee categories are carried out each season in August, November and February to make sure that the officials that are appointed for league matches are able to give their utmost on the field of play. Not only will they be able to keep up with the action thanks to their peak fitness levels, but they will also be able to make the correct calls most of the time due to the regular training that they go through.