‘We can’t say who’s getting free Manchester United tickets’ – Minister Bartolo

Tourism Minster Clayton Bartolo again insisted on not divulging the list of those who received free football match tickets for Manchester United games distributed through his ministry, telling parliament this was “sensitive information”.

Replying to questions by PN MP Darren Carabott, Bartolo said the recipients of such benefits resulting from the Malta Tourism Authority’s multi-million euro sponsorship of one of the top teams in the English Premier League could not be disclosed.

According to the minister, most of these tickets are being used by tour operators and UK radio stations as competition tickets in campaigns that help promote Malta. Yet he admitted that several other recipients visit Old Trafford stadium as guests of the MTA or the ministry.

The persistent stonewalling of information surrounding the controversial deal between the government and Manchester United follows similar replies to The Shift.

Pictures of Old Trafford stadium posted on social media by a group accompanying Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo in 2021.

Only a few months ago, Minister Bartolo and the MTA turned down a Freedom of Information (FOI) request for the latest contract signed, as well as a list of beneficiaries of the complimentary tickets distributed by the Tourism Ministry.

Turning down the request for the contract, saying the government is bound by confidentiality, the minister also blocked the publication of the list of those receiving complimentary game tickets, citing “data protection” rules.

The Shift has filed a request for the Data Protection Commissioner to investigate the refusals.

The deal with Manchester United was first struck by disgraced former minister Konrad Mizzi. At the time, the government had also refused to publish the deal despite reports some €20 million were paid for the three-year contract.

Last September, Bartolo travelled to Manchester to sign the contract’s renewal, together with a government delegation of some 11 people, also attending the opening match of the season at Old Trafford.

                           
                           
                               
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8 Comments
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Eddy
Eddy
9 days ago

You don’t have to say it, we known for who the free (paid with tax money) tickets are, what a hypocrite.

Vik
Vik
9 days ago

Ah in other words, the free (taxpayer paid for) tickets are for himself and his colleagues.

Simon
Simon
8 days ago
Reply to  Vik

12th district Constituents. Vote buying.

N Scerri
N Scerri
5 days ago
Reply to  Simon

Having a look at their FB, would not be surprised if other MPs from both sides are benefitting too.

Philip Micallef
Philip Micallef
8 days ago

This commercially sensitive excuse holds no water. In civilized jurisdictions commercially sensitive information is deemed as such when information requested regards a tender in progress or a contract not yet awarded. Once a tender is awarded or a sponsorship agreement concluded then there is no commercially sensitive information. Someone has to put an end to taking citizens for a ride.

Godfrey Leone Ganado
Godfrey Leone Ganado
8 days ago

For income tax purposes, a free/complimentary ticket is a taxable benefit and its face value should be declared in the income tax returns of the beneficiaries.
I ask: has the Director of Revenue asked Clayton Bartolo’s Ministry for the list of beneficiaries?

makjavel
makjavel
8 days ago

They are bummers , like they never saw butter in their life. But then did they?

Joseph
Joseph
8 days ago

Sahta gabu fil-loghba tal-bierah. Fejn jersqu jmorru kollox isir flus misruqa. La qedin hemm jithanzru kemm jifilhu. Dak hu il-vangelu taghhom ahtaf kemm tiflah ghax ghada ma nafux. Kollox jiddependi fuq gahan.

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