Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools want to build football ground for Naxxar Lions

FTS has referred directly to Naxxar Lions FC’s lack of “adequate sporting facilities that cater for today’s needs and expectations for a football club”

The authority responsible for the construction of Maltese schools is seeking a planning permit to build a football ground and an underground car park for 212 cars in Naxxar.

The Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools has picked an 8,830 square metre site within the precincts of the Giovanni Curmi Higher Secondary and MCAST complex.

The foundation intends making the ground available for the wider Naxxar community including its football club, which had previously expressed an interest in developing a full-blown stadium and sports hotel in Gharghur.

While the degraded land earmarked for the sports facility is deemed to have no particular environmental value, the Environment and Resources Authority has objected to an access road that would pass through undeveloped land outside building zones.

Syrian-Canadian investor Yahya Kirdi (second left) was reportedly interested in a stadium investment for Naxxar Lions, but the FTS now says its football ground would be used for the club
Syrian-Canadian investor Yahya Kirdi (second left) was reportedly interested in a stadium investment for Naxxar Lions, but the FTS now says its football ground would be used for the club

An underpass is now being considered instead of a surface road.

The new ground will face the villas along Triq Giorgio Locano in Iklin but the access will be through the school complex itself, which already includes two smaller football grounds and various other sports facilities.

The FTS’s own project description referred directly to Naxxar Lions FC’s lack of “adequate sporting facilities that cater for today’s needs and expectations for a football club”.

But so far no formal agreements have been signed with any club or nursery. “Actual operational and lease arrangements with stakeholders, including the local community such as the football nursery, still need to be worked out,” a spokesperson for FTS told MaltaToday.

The construction of the football ground is considered by the FTS as an important aspect of its strategy for integrating school facilities in the wider community, so that buildings and equipment are made available to the community during the evenings and in other non-teaching hours.

“In this way greater use is made of these resources and the relationship between the educational authorities, schools, students and other stakeholders are further strengthened,” FTS said.

The ERA has warned that building a surface road would “formalise the undeveloped peripheries and commit additional land” and questioned why the whole access road cannot be accommodated through the school grounds. The FTS is now revisiting its designs to include the construction of an underpass and avoid the take up of ODZ land.

The application for the new football ground in the school premises dates back to September 2017.

Last year MaltaToday had revealed that two letters of intent for a Naxxar Lions stadium in Gharghur were issued right in the middle of the 2017 election campaign – one by the parliamentary secretariat for sports, and one by the Lands Authority. The project for a stadium for Naxxar Lions FC and a hotel, attracted the interest of Syrian-Canadian investor Yahya Kirdi with a €10 million commercialisation project.

But tangible progress on Kirdi’s investment for Naxxar, having been installed as president of the club, has so far not materialised.

Kirdi was in the past associated with a bid for Liverpool, and later in 2017, reportedly fronting a bid to acquire the smaller club Carlisle United. In those negotiations he was represented by Nick McCreery, a north east-based agent and son of the former Carlisle boss David McCreery – a friend of former Naxxar president and benefactor Michael Zammit Tabona.

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