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May 6, 2024

Playing in Maltese league was the natural step for Victoria Hotspurs – President, Dr Anton Tabone

Club President was interviewed by The Times of Malta sports journalist Valhmor Camilleri.

Victoria Hotspurs caught the headlines last week after the Gozitan club won an historical vote during the MFA Extraordinary General Meeting which handed them a berth in the Malta FA national leagues as from next season.

The Gozitan club has been working towards earning accession into the Malta FA leagues for several years and in September last year they filed another application within the local governing body of football.

For the Hotspurs, the journey to become a member in the Malta FA has been long and hard during the past few months, with several hurdles needed to be overtaken, not only in Malta but also within the Gozitan football community.

But in the end, their perseverance was rewarded as the MFA delegates gave their green light for Victoria Hotspurs’ application, approving the motion by 41 votes in favour and 11 against.

That vote means that Victoria Hotspurs will be playing in the National Amateur League Two next September.

“This was not a choice that we made overnight,” Victoria Hotspurs president Anton Tabone told the Times of Malta.

“This decision to submit our application was something that we thought about for several years. Gozitan football is nice to see the various localities challenging each other to win a trophy but unfortunately it has a lot of limitations.

“That is why we started looking across the channel and follow more Maltese football.

“The Maltese football championship is of a higher level than that played in Gozo and we wanted to challenge ourselves.

“It’s true that we are starting our adventure from the bottom of the Maltese echelon, in the National Amateur League II, but our long-term goal is that we slowly move up the ladder and our primary objective is to get promoted to the Premier League.

“The Premier League is of a higher level than Gozitan football and would be of great prestige for us to play there.

“For us to play in the Maltese league was the only natural move we had if we were going to experience professional football as in Gozo you are always stuck at the same level with no room aspire for higher objectives.”

Dr Tabone said Victoria Hotspurs’ entry in Maltese football could open the doors for Gozitan players who want to reach higher goals in their career. “Personally, I think that this is not about Victoria Hotspurs,” Dr Tabone said.

“Next season we will have a Gozitan club, fielding a number of Gozitan players who are striving to move forward in their football career.

“Every player who takes football seriously is always striving to play in championships that are more professional and dynamic than the one played in Gozo.

“We are providing this challenge to Gozitan players to play in a better championship and with the opportunity to challenge themselves against Maltese players and reach higher objectives.

“I believe that this could be the perfect showcase for Gozitan players to be spotted by Maltese clubs and eventually end up moving to bigger teams in Malta.

“This decision will provide more visibility and new experiences to Gozitan players who are taking football more seriously. “I am aware that playing in Malta requires a huge sacrifice but if there are players who are up to this challenge they would fit perfectly the type of players we are after and would help them to move forward in their career.”


Victoria Hotspurs are not the only Gozitan club who showed interest in playing in the Malta FA national leagues. In the past, Nadur Youngsters, Għajnsielem and Kerċem Ajax had also made an attempt to gain entry in the MFA but failed. Dr Tabone hopes that Hotspurs’ successful bid to become part of the Malta FA family would open the doors for other Gozitan clubs who want to take this ambitious step.

“If you look at the past, Nadur Youngsters, Għajnsielem and Kerċem Ajax have already submitted their application but for some reason or other they were not accepted, we managed.

“Going forward, I believe that there will be more clubs who will have the will to follow our footsteps. I believe that now that we have won the right to make the move from Gozitan football to the MFA Leagues, it would be easier for other clubs to make the transition.

“If they follow the same criteria that we did it, the procedures will be easier for them to play in the Maltese league.” Dr Tabone said that one of the main projects for the club now was to set up a professional nursery to maximise the talent of young players in Gozo.

“A main objective on our agenda is the setting up of a football nursery on a professional basis,” the Hotspurs chief said. “Our ambition is that our teams in different age groups will play in Youth FA competitions. “To this aim we are planning to engage foreign coaches to ensure that our young players are nurtured by the right people. “There are many Gozitan children who are forced to cross the channel to play in football in Malta and I believe that having a well set-up nursery will attract these young players to our clubs who will have the opportunity to train in Gozo and then play in the Maltese youth leagues in various age groups.”

Turning his sights on the future, the Victoria Hotspurs president said now that the club has entered the Maltese football scene it will attract more quality people to the club and help them make that much-needed leap forward.

“ I believe that now that we have won the right to make the move from Gozitan football to the MFA leagues it would be easier for other clubs to make the transition.

“I have no doubt, that the fact that we have the opportunity to play in the Maltese league will be a major attraction for people with great experience in football administration as well as coaches to join our club,” Dr Tabone said.

“Our ambition is to bring to our club people with the necessary know ow that can help us reach higher objectives.

“We are looking forward to give our contribution to Maltese football, through our innovative ideas that can help this movement grow further in the next few years.”

At the end of the interview, Dr Tabone showed his appreciation to the MFA administration for their support throughout their journey.

“I would like to thank MFA president Bjorn Vassallo for all his assistance,” he said. “Maltese football is lucky to be lead by a person who is such an inspirational leader. I am also grateful to MFA vice-president Matthew Paris as well as the Malta Premier League who have given us with some wise advice throughout this process.

“I am also grateful to our legal advisors Statim Legal of Barcelona, Spain as well as all the Victoria Hotspurs committee who have worked so hard so that we reach this objective.”

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