Gharb football committee resigns after mayor leases ground to rivals

Mayor rented out the ground to rival Victoria Hotspurs who turned their own ground into a parking facility for profit


A second-division football club in Gozo, Gharb Rangers FC, cannot use its football ground facilities following a decision by the locality’s mayor, David Apap, to lease the ground to football rivals, Victoria Hotspurs FC.

This decision led to the mass resignation of the Gharb Rangers committee, which said the locality’s mayor did not even inform them about leasing their ground. The Gharb football team currently has nowhere to train and risks being disbanded.

In their resignation letter, sent to the Gozo Football Association (GFA), the committee members, led by President Joe Cauchi, informed the association they were leaving the club because the mayor decided to lease their facilities to a “third party.”

A letter was sent to the Gozo Football Association announcing the committee’s resignation.

Without mentioning Victoria Hotspurs by name, the committee informed the GFA that the mayor did not even consult them on this move and that they ended up without their training ground. This has made their club’s situation impossible to manage.

Contacted by The Shift, Gharb Rangers President Joe Cauchi confirmed that his club could not use its football ground as Mayor Apap leased it out to football rivals.

“I have nothing to add to the statement. There is no football club any longer, as all the committee members resigned. We don’t know why the mayor took this decision and for whose benefit. We don’t know anything,” the club president said.

When asked who owns the ground, the President said it was the property of the local council but has been managed by the football club for years.

When contacted by The Shift, Mayor David Apap did not want to answer any questions by phone and asked for them to be emailed. The Shift has not yet received his replies to questions sent in writing.

Sources told The Shift that while Victoria Hotspurs – the Gozo capital’s football team – already had their facilities, they have turned their ground into a parking lot.

To compensate for their ‘lack’ of facilities, they have now leased the Gharb Rangers ground, locking out the team to which the facilities originally belonged.

The sources said this latest development was only possible through the intervention of Mayor David Apap.

David Apap (centre) received an award last year from Minister Owen Bonnici and Parliamentary Secretary Alison Zerafa Civelli for his long service.

This is not the first time Gharb’s mayor, one of the longest-serving in Gozo, has made headlines. In 2013, PN Mayor David Apap, together with his brother Francis, was arraigned in court accused of criminal offences, including usury and money laundering.

After being forced to resign from the PN, he stayed on as an independent local councillor. Subsequently, he contested the local council elections as an independent through a new political grouping – l-Ewwel l-Gharb – and has been re-elected as mayor ever since.

Apap denies the criminal charges, but the proceedings remain ongoing in the Gozo Courts.


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1 month ago

Mentalità medjevali

1 month ago

You get what you vote for so kudos to the electorate

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