The association’s History – the governing body of Football in Gozo founded in 1936.

Football Or Soccer?

Those British sports lovers who thought that football should be kicking and not a handling game formulated the laws and regulations of this game on this idea. In 1863, the Football Association was formed to organize and run this new game which took its name after the name of this body and hence the term “Association Football”. However, outside Great Britain, the game is also referred to as “soccer” in addition to “football”.

It is a sure fact that football (or soccer) is the most popular sport in Malta and Gozo, and the oldest of all the national sports disciplines practised and followed in Malta and Gozo and thus qualifies for the title ‘the national game’.

The Birth of Maltese Football

Football started to be played in Malta towards the end of the nineteenth century when the country, then a Crown Colony, was under the governorship of the British Sir Arth Borton. Local football owes its origin to the members of the British Services, which were stationed in the colony. Records prove that it was introduced as early as 1884 when soccer was “played bootless on a piece of land which could be described as anything but a football pitch”. It is said that football boots were used for the first time in 1885 and a year later the referee’s whistle was introduced at a match played in Zabbar between the Trashier Regiment and Cospicua St. Andrew’s, an encounter which finished in a one-all draw. In 1908 the crossbar and extra-time were introduced. Goal nets and the numbering of players in local football were introduced later.

The First Gozitan Competitions

The Gozo Football Association was founded in 1936 and the first league competition took place in season 1936/37. Till now 72 top-level Championship titles have been won. Subsequent years saw the inception of other competitions alongside the league competition.

 

Post-War Football

Understandably, World War II brought competitive football to a halt. Many Gozitan players of the time had joined the British Forces in the defence of the island and the British Empire. But when the war was over, the previous clubs started to rebuild their teams. They started staging a lot of friendly matches against British Services Teams to assess the worth of their players hoping that football competitions would soon be re-established.

On its part, the Gozo F.A. was keen to start organizing competitive football again with the least possible delay. This happened in the season 1944-45 the ball was set rolling again. Furthermore, new clubs were established.
Gozo Football Stadium turf being watered

Current Competitions

One of the main objectives of the Association is the organization and running of domestic football competitions. Presently, the Association organizes several competitions for its Member Clubs, the most important of which is the BOV Gozo Football League, which is referred to by supporters as just “League”. Fourteen Clubs participate in the GFL, which is divided into two divisions

8 clubs in the First Division participate in the Division one League. The last-placed club is relegated to the Second Division and second-to-last placed of Division one plays the Play-Off against Runners up of Division two.

The other six clubs in the Second Division participate in the Division two League. The winner is promoted to the First Division.

The Gozo Youth F.A. organizes the Under 18 and Under 15 League as well as a knockout competition for the respective age groups.

After the League competition, the most important competition of the Association is the GFA Cup. All the Member Clubs, both the First Division and Second Division are entitled to take part at one stage. Another competition is the Knockout Cup. The GFA organizes a knockout for each of the levels of Gozitan Football, 1st Division Knockout and 2nd Division.

The Gozo Football Association organizes another Cup Final which is the Super Cup. The football season starts with the Super Cup Final. This Cup is entitled to be played by the Gozitan Champions and the winners of the GFA Cup.

The Management of Football in Gozo

The highest authority in Gozitan Football is the Annual General Meeting of the Gozo Football Association which meets annually during June. During this meeting, an administrative report and an audited financial report are presented for the comments and approval of the members of the Association and elections are held for the ordinary members of the Executive Committee. The Officers of the Association, namely the President, two vice-presidents and an Honorary Treasurer are elected every three years. The General Secretary, who is also an Officer of the Association, is chosen by the Council and has an indefinite tenure of office. The General Meeting of the Association is empowered also to make changes to the Statute of the Association which changes require a two-thirds majority of those present and voting to be adopted.

The GFA Council is composed of the Officers of the Association and seven other members as follows: two from the First Division Clubs, two from the Second Division Clubs, one from the Youth F.A. and two Independent Members. Whilst the Officers of the Association do not represent any particular Member Club, the other members of the Executive Committee must represent a Member Club or a Member Association on the Council of the Association, which is the next highest authority after the AGM.

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The Council of the Association is composed of representatives of the Member Clubs (all the Clubs in the First and Second Divisions are entitled to have a representative with full voting powers) the Malta Football Referees Association although not Member of the Association, has the right to send one representative with full voting powers.

The Association conducts its business also through several other persons and through several committees which are established either by the Statute or the Regulations of the Association or by the Council itself. It is the Council which is empowered to select the persons to fill a statutory position or a place in a committee established by the Statute or by the Regulations or by the Council itself.

Furthermore, the Council has the right to formulate the policy of the Association and to enact the necessary regulations. Council Meetings, which normally are held once every month and are occasionally open to the Media.

The Association spares no effort and leaves no stone unturned to ensure that the local football game is given the best chance to improve in many aspects and conformity with the requirements of the modern game.

Highest Level Champions

1937/38 Victoria Stars
1938/39 Victoria City
1939/40 Xagħra Blue Stars
1940/41 no competition (due to WW2)
1941/42 no competition
1942/43 no competition
1943/44 no competition
1944/45 Victoria Athletics
1945/46 Victoria Athletics
1946/47 Victoria Athletics
1947/48 no competition
1948/49 Salesian Youths
1949/50 no competition
1950/51 no competition
1951/52 no competition
1952/53 Salesian Youths
1953/54 no competition
1954/55 Victoria Athletics
1955/56 no competition
1956/57 Salesian Youths
1957/58 Salesian Youths
1958/59 Salesian Youths
1959/60 Salesian Youths
1960/61 competition abandoned
1961/62 Victoria Hotspurs FC
1962/63 Victoria Hotspurs FC
1963/64 Xagħra Young Stars
1964/65 Victoria Hotspurs FC
1965/66 Victoria Hotspurs FC
1966/67 Victoria Hotspurs FC
1967/68 Nadur Youngsters FC
1968/69 Calypcians SK
1969/70 Għajnsielem FC
1970/71 Għajnsielem FC
1971/72 Għajnsielem FC
1972/73 Għajnsielem FC
1973/74 Għajnsielem FC
1974/75 Xewkija Tigers FC
1975/76 Sannat Lions FC
1976/77 Sannat Lions FC
1977/78 Sannat Lions FC
1978/79 Victoria United
1979/80 Victoria Hotspurs FC
1980/81 Sannat Lions FC
1981/82 Sannat Lions FC
1982/83 Xewkija Tigers FC
1983/84 Xewkija Tigers FC
1984/85 Victoria Hotspurs FC
1985/86 Kerċem Ajax FC
1986/87 Sannat Lions FC
1987/88 Sannat Lions FC
1988/89 Xagħra United FC
1989/90 Sannat Lions FC
1990/91 Victoria Hotspurs FC
1991/92 Xagħra United FC
1992/93 Xagħra United FC
1993/94 Victoria Hotspurs FC
1994/95 Nadur Youngsters FC
1995/96 Nadur Youngsters FC
1996/97 Nadur Youngsters FC
1997/98 Xagħra United FC
1998/99 Nadur Youngsters FC
1999/00 Victoria Hotspurs FC
2000/01 Xewkija Tigers FC
2001/02 Nadur Youngsters FC
2002/03 Nadur Youngsters FC
2003/04 Żebbuġ Rovers FC
2004/05 Għajnsielem FC
2005/06 Nadur Youngsters FC
2006/07 Nadur Youngsters FC
2007/08 Nadur Youngsters FC
2008/09 Sannat Lions FC
2009/10 Victoria Hotspurs FC
2010/11 Sannat Lions FC
2011/12 Xewkija Tigers FC
2012/13 Nadur Youngsters FC
2013/14 Xewkija Tigers FC
2014/15 Xewkija Tigers FC
2015/16 Għajnsielem FC
2016/17 Xewkija Tigers FC
2017/18 Victoria Hotspurs FC
2018/19 Victoria Hotspurs FC
2019/20 Nadur Youngsters FC

Number of Titles (72)

13 Victoria Hotspurs FC

12 Nadur Youngsters FC

10 Sannat Lions FC

8 Xewkija Tigers FC

7 Għajnsielem FC

6 Salesian Youths

4 Victoria Athletics
Xagħra United FC

1 Calypcians SK
Kerċem Ajax FC
Victoria City
Victoria Stars
Victoria United
Xagħra Blue Stars
Xagħra Young Stars
Żebbuġ Rovers FC

Sources: GFA Archives & earlier versions of Gozofa.com
Photos: Anthony Cassar & other unknown photographers