Signs of a solid strategy as Valletta agree Insignia deal Published on: 14-08-2013

Valletta are looking forward to the new season with renewed optimism.

Fine showings in the Euro Cup and Europa League this summer and an almost new line-up of foreign players somehow look to have already atoned for the upset of failing to fulfill last season’s target... a third consecutive league title.

Yesterday, City’s drive to deve-lop a solid strategy for the club’s future received a timely boost when it was confirmed that their new sponsors will be international Credit Card group Insignia.

Valletta’s ambitions to raise the profile of the club caught the eye of Rafael Carrascosa, the chief exe-cutive officer of Insignia Global.

“Valletta’s dream of advancing to the group stages of the Champions League may seem far-fetched but it’s not,” he contended.

“Insignia already has a deep involvement with football and through our expertise we can help our new partners to believe more in fulfilling their dream.”

Club committee member Francis Vassallo, who was instrumental in bringing the two parties to the table for negotiations, says the future is bright for Valletta FC.

“At Valletta FC, we have been striving to become more competent but we could only achieve our aims with a sound financial backing like the one we now have in place,” he said.

“This partnership goes beyond a mere shirt sponsorship as through their contacts Insignia will also help us to establish a more professional set-up.

“In fact, we’re already engaged in talks with the Malta FA to transform Valletta FC into a business liability company,” he revealed.

Carrascosa seemed equally en-thusiastic and confirmed Insignia’s willingness to be involved long-term, even stretching beyond the two-year deal just signed.

“This is just a first step,” he said.

“We have big plans and we are pledging a long-standing relation-ship with Valletta FC. In the next few weeks, this club could also become among the few in Europe to have themed credit cards with its branding,” he added.

Insignia is already associated with Vitesse in the Dutch league.

Valletta FC president Victor Sciriha did not disclose the financial terms in the Insignia deal but told reporters at Le Meridien that the new sponsorship will help the club boost its coffers significantly.

“It is more profitable than all our previous shirt sponsors put together. In fact, the Insigna logo will feature exclusively on our jerseys next season,” he said.

The new kits show a distinctive red vertical strip on the popular all-white City shirt.

Among the new arrivals this season at the City club is Tunisian midfielder Abdelkarim Nafti. He penned a three-year contract yesterday.

“We all learn from past mistakes so this year we worked differently in terms of recruitment of players,” Sciriha said.

“Valletta still harbour the ambition of making inroads in European competitions. That’s why we offered our new foreigners contracts that cover more than one season. That way we can build a solid base when our next UEFA commitment comes.

“Abdelkarim Nafti is a great player. I’ve been chasing his signa-ture for the last two years now.

“I’m sure he will be a great asset to the team.”

Denni Rocha dos Santos and Jason Vandelannoitte were the only two non-Maltese players retained from last season as the club engaged six new foreigners – Hamza Barry (Gambia), Pietro Marino (Italy), Aziz Corry Nyang (Gambia), Romulo Marques Antonelli (Brazil), Audgustine James Obaje (Nigeria) and Nafti.

Sciriha heaped praise on his players, denying any interest in Bir-kirkara striker Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza before turning on Valletta coach Mark Miller and jokingly said “we gave you all that you have asked for, now it’s your turn to deliver the goods”.

Miller lauded the club’s efforts to attract new investment and provide him with a squad that has strength in depth.

“A long bench means a strong side. This is a valid team we have and everything is in place,” he said.

Miller reckoned a club of Valletta’s stature deserves better facilities where the team could practise behind closed doors and work on new set-pieces and game plans.

“This is a great club but to be totally professional, we have to do everything right including having our own training ground,” Miller remarked.

On this matter, Sciriha reiterated that permits remained a stumbling block for works to start on the club’s new stadium at Ħal-Farruġ, limits of Luqa.

“Everything is set, cash is available and we are ready to start works. We are only waiting for the green light from the authorities concerned.”

Source - Times of Malta