Bank of Val­letta ex­tends sup­port to ASA for another three years

Youth de­vel­op­ment among pri­or­i­ties

Malta Independent - - SPORT - Henry Brin­cat

The Am­a­teur Swim­ming As­so­ci­a­tion (ASA) and the Bank of Val­letta signed a new three-year col­lab­o­ra­tion agree­ment that will see the bank sup­port­ing all se­nior water­polo com­pe­ti­tions in Malta un­til 2019.

But there is also some­thing new in this agree­ment – more fo­cus on youth de­vel­op­ment.

Bank of Val­letta CEO Mario Mal­lia said the new agree­ment co­in­cided with the 10th an­niver­sary of the Bank’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with the ASA. He said: “Dur­ing this pe­riod, we have en­joyed a very close and suc­cess­ful co­op­er­a­tion. Sports fea­tures as a main pil­lar of BoV’s Com­mu­nity Pro­gramme be­cause we recog­nise and value the role of sport for the phys­i­cal and men­tal well-be­ing of the in­di­vid­ual and the com­mu­nity at large.”

This agree­ment with the ASA in­clud­ing fo­cus on youth de­vel­op­ment comes only a few days af­ter the Bank an­nounced its co­op­er­a­tion with SportMalta to­wards the Youth De­vel­op­ment Scheme.

On his part, Joe Caru­ana Cur­ran, ASA pres­i­dent, said the as­so­ci­a­tion was proud to see its long stand­ing re­la­tion­ship with the Bank of Val­letta be­ing strength­ened. “The 10th an­niver­sary is a big mile­stone for the ASA, say­ing that the re­la­tion­ship was based on co­op­er­a­tion which is ben­e­fi­cial for both en­ti­ties.

De­vel­op­ment of youth tal­ent

He also thanked the clubs for the in­vest­ment and de­vel­op­ment which have made the game much more at­trac­tive. “The spon­sor­ship will pro­vide another at­trac­tion for the youths to join this en­ter­tain­ing game. The de­vel­op­ment of youth tal­ent is cer­tainly the best thing for the fu­ture of this sport which has pro­vided a lot of sat­is­fac­tions in the past few years,” said Caru­ana Cur­ran.

The ASA pres­i­dent said the na­tional teams – se­niors and youths – had made tremen­dous progress. “The Youths qual­i­fied twice for the Euro­pean cham­pi­onship fi­nals, while the se­niors qual­i­fied once – last Jan­uary- for the fi­nals of the Euro­pean cham­pi­onship in Bel­grade, Ser­bia,” he said.

Caru­ana Cur­ran said that the next tar­get will be the 2018 se­niors fi­nals in Barcelona. “But in the next 18 months or so, we have to con­tinue in­vest­ing in youths to keep up our im­prove­ment at such lev­els,” he re­it­er­ated.

Asked about the prob­lems some clubs – es­pe­cially San Gil­jan, Sliema and Ex­iles – are fac­ing be­cause of re­cently in­curred dam­ages to their premises due to in­clement weather, Caru­ana Cur­ran said that the ASA had met Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary Chris Agius on this mat­ter to see what could be done to help the clubs. He added: “Al­though they have their own in­sur­ance poli­cies, th­ese do not cover ev­ery­thing. More­over, they do not have the fi­nances to make the nec­es­sary re­pairs. What we are sug­gest­ing is that break­wa­ters or wave break­ers are set up to pro­tect th­ese clubs.”

Pres­i­dency con­tes­ta­tion

Asked what he thought about be­ing con­tested in the next few days for the ASA pres­i­dency, he bluntly said that if the clubs wanted a change at the helm of the ad­min­is­tra­tion, they had ev­ery right to do it. “But I do not think one should for­get what has been done in the last six years since I have been pres­i­dent of the ASA. In fact, the suc­cesses we achieved came much ear­lier than we thought and I be­lieve I am still in a po­si­tion to give much more to the as­so­ci­a­tion than any­one else. In fact, there is still a lot on the agenda and I would like to fin­ish it be­fore I leave the ASA.

“The con­tes­ta­tion is wel­come as it will show what the clubs are look­ing for­ward to. Of course, I would be dis­ap­pointed if I lose the elec­tion. But I am not wor­ried, and I can say I am de­ter­mined to win. I must also make it clear that I have no in­ten­tion of leav­ing the ASA, but I will ac­cept the clubs’ de­ci­sion whether it is in my favour or not.”

From left, ASA pres­i­dent Joe Caru­ana Cur­ran, BoV CEO Mario Mal­lia and An­thony Sci­cluna

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