Gozitan construction magnate Joseph Portelli, the president of the football club Hamrun Spartans, will be given a 95% discount on the annual ground rent his club is expected to pay the government over the next 45 years.
Through a draft deed and a resolution presented to parliament and expected to be rubber-stamped today, Portelli would be given the green light for his club to be given the title for the football complex built on some 13,400 square meters of public land for the next 45 years.
The draft contract, seen by The Shift and penned by former Labour Parliamentary Secretary Joe Cilia, states that Hamrun Spartans will only be expected to fork out less than €3,000 a year in annual ground rent instead of €55,000 a year.
Hamrun Spartans will have complete control over the complex. They will also be obliged to maintain the premises during the lease period.
The deed also specifies that the facilities, which, apart from the main ground, also includes a smaller ground for training, administrative offices and a bar and restaurant, have to be used exclusively for sport.
Yet the deed specifies that this can be changed through the permission of SportMalta, the government’s sports agency.
Portelli has already announced plans to build a new stadium for Hamrun.
Although no plans have been yet presented to the Planning Authority, it is an open secret in Hamrun that Portelli intends to use the ground’s footprint to turn it into a fully-fledged commercial facility that may not entirely be related to sports.
In an interview with The Times of Malta in September 2021, Portelli lamented that he was forking out too much money for his club could win the league. He said his club’s success in winning the Premier League cost him €1.5 million.
Last summer, Portelli was one of the principal backers of disgraced former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in his bid to become chairman of a new association of premier league clubs.