SportMalta Chair resigns, officials give no explanation

Chairman of SportMalta Prof Andrew Decelis has resigned just 12 months after taking the helm, but SportMalta officials and CEO Mark Cutajar have remained silent on the reason for his resignation or who will take his place.

SportMalta caught the public’s attention earlier this year due to its handling of the Games of the Small States of Europe, hosted by Malta last June, which saw at least four multi-million-euro sports complexes meant to be used for the event that remain unfinished.

Decelis was appointed to the position for a three-year term in September 2022. But following reports that he handed in his resignation, he refused to confirm or deny it when contacted by The Shift, instead referring questions to the Sports Ministry.

SportMalta CEO Mark Cutajar confirmed to The Shift that Decelis was no longer chairman but refused to explain why he resigned and denied reports he had been appointed as the Board’s Chair instead.

“I do not have this role. I’m just the CEO. Right now, we have Matthew Pisani as the acting chairman,” he said, divulging no further details.

Following The Shift’s enquiries, the SportMalta webpage listing the board members, which until 13 September listed Decelis as the board’s Chair, was removed and is no longer publicly accessible.

Questions sent to Sports and Education Minister Clifton Grima asking for more information remain unanswered at the time of publication.

The Shift has previously reported how SportMalta has mismanaged multiple multi-million-euro construction projects for sports complexes promised to be completed in time for training and used in the 2023 Games of the Small States of Europe, hosted by Malta last June.

These included the €14 million Cottonera Sports Complex swimming pool inaugurated this month, a still-incomplete €16 million pool in Victoria, Gozo, a €3 million tennis complex in Pembroke and a €9 million indoor squash and weightlifting complex in Marsa.

So far, Cutajar has refused to give details on the number of variations approved on the Cottonera project, substantially boosting the contractor V&C’s final pay packet.

Government sources who spoke to The Shift last May said there were tensions between Sports Minister Clifton Grima and Cutajar over the management of the games and the related projects.

The sources said Cutajar would meet with contractors involved in building the complexes on his own, sidelining other officials while unilaterally taking crucial project-related decisions.

His “erratic and confrontational” management led to disappointment within the ministry and SportMalta because the multi-million-euro projects were not on time.

SportMalta was set up in 2016 as a rebrand of the Kunsill Malti Għall-iSport (Malta Sports Council). Until recently, its board consisted of Decelis as Chair, Pisani as vice chairman, and members Keith Bartolo, Gianella Bugeja Persiano, Alfred Cachia, Anna Calleja, Mark Marlow, Dr Alexandra Mizzi and Julian Pace Bonello.

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A. Fan
A. Fan
11 days ago

An MLP appointee actually getting dismissed for incompetence and plain ole hubris??? I though those were basic qualifications for any such position.

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