Malta has won medals with foreign athletes not just Maltese citizens

Now, before anyone takes this in a xenophobic way, there is nothing wrong with foreigners becoming Maltese citizens after having lived in Malta and gone through the naturalisation process, but directly importing foreigners to Malta to play for international sporting events is bizarre and borders outright fraud and cheating.  Yet, this is what the Maltese government seems to have done for the Games of the Small States of Europe. Malta has imported a number of foreign athletes that went on to win medals in Malta’s name. One of the foreign athletes even gave herself away saying that the Maltese team “made her feel at home”.

Importing athletes specifically to win games defeats the purpose of building a local sports industry that can nurture local athletes. In addition, it could also be unfair to other countries because you are supposed to compete with your fellow countrymen instead of importing foreign athletes. One of the points of international sporting events is to prove that your country can build and nurture successful athletes. Importing foreign athletes to play in your country’s name defeats the purpose of the international competition, however, this seems to be the government’s new policy. I could confirm that several foreign athletes who played and won medals for Malta during these games have been previously promised Maltese citizenship.

It is also strange that local athletic clubs seem to be silent on this situation, however, the situation has also been kept under wraps by the government. There was never any indication in government policy that foreigners were to be imported to play under Malta’s flag. Such a policy should at least have been discussed at length, especially with sports industry stakeholders and Maltese athletes themselves.


    • That does not mean she is Maltese. With that same reasoning one could say that Britney spears is Maltese as her grandfather was Maltese…. totally unfair to Maltese athletes who dedicate their lives for a chance to compete and having this opportunity taken from them. Not to mention the fact that the government incentivised these people with 10,000 euros from taxpayer money to win medals..

  1. Good thing this article was posted. I want to see a change in mentality where sports is put at the same level as academic achievement. Same goes for music. We need sports, computer programming and music as core subjects and properly assessed too (exams should not be the only form of assessment and infact in my view offer a poor way of gauging performance with them being merely snapshots of how a person works under pressure).

    The attitude towards exposing children to sports has improved along the years but we still are way behind. Taking kids to training is just a variable in the equation. There are others. Are we feeding our kids proper food? Are they resting enough? Is their mental sanity kept in check? Are they following up training with being lectured how the body works? Are we ensuring that the academic core subjects are still given importance as ultimately few earn a decent living just through sports. We need to teach kids diversity. Everything ties together.

    As for the small nations competition what chances do people born and bred in Malta have to explore and enhance their skills if the state sponsors outsiders and satisfied with this does little to improve local sports facilities including giving financial incentives to private industry?

    Well done to the Maltese who participated firstly. Well done to the Maltese who won a medal. Well done especially to the Maltese who train so hard and dedicate time to improve themselves.

    • Agree with all your points here. Long term the changes you propose would create a more socially united malta, reduce crime and bring about political change for the better

  2. And. seeing as there was €10k on offer for each gold medal won, it was easier to attract these “mercenaries”. I have nothing against those who have been settled here for years and added to the local sporting community, but the ones with no local ties who flow in, competed, picked up €10k and flew out again, possibly never to be seen again.

  3. I have just read the ToM article and am absolutely gutted reading that “some” athletes were given passports to compete for Malta. This pathetic and scheming attitude towards our Maltese identity is revolting. Give passports to strangers to represent my country?! This is sickening. Imagine taking your son or daughter to the games and she’s cheering a Maltese runner (just as an example) only to realize this person has little to no connection with Malta. How do you explain the fact we no longer identify competitor with country? Are we Maltese or aren’t we anymore?!

  4. The silver ling is that now e can demand that we also import ‘gold medal’ quality politicians of integrity, like Jacinda Ardern, and get rid of the corrupt lot we’ve let ourselves be lumped with.

  5. But isn’t the same thing happening in the football grounds ? All clubs have foreign players nowadays …some were Maltese are a minority yet we keep pouring millions of taxpayers money into these clubs, grounds and sporting facilities. Why are we singling the athletes out now ?

  6. It is a pity that Malta had to resort to this tactic. Admittedly this is not a first and will not be the last.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. An example of a direct sports import – Mark Camilleri
  2. This is why you should not cheat or distort international sporting events – Mark Camilleri

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