Malta Football Association
Statement by the President Norman Darmanin Demajo
Dec 7, 2016
Posted in:
Photos: Domenic Aquilina
Photos: Domenic Aquilina

  • Photos: Domenic Aquilina

In light of the sexual misconduct allegations made in the UK media, Malta Football Association President Norman Darmanin Demajo has today issued a detailed timeline of Mr Bob Higgins's spell as MFA youth development officer in the late eighties and early nineties.

Darmanin Demajo provided these details during a news conference held by the Malta Football Association earlier this afternoon which focused mainly on its Safeguarding Policy and practices in place to minimise the risk of child-related offences in Maltese football. The conference was also addressed by Andrew Azzopardi, the Association's safeguarding officer.


1.     In July, 1989, Bob Higgins was appointed as Youth Development Officer of the MFA, and given a 5 year contract.


2.     In January, 1990, the MFA President at the time, became aware of an article that appeared in the ‘Daily Mirror,’ in which article it was reported that Mr Higgins was assisting the police in allegations of sexual misconduct with children. At the time of this publication, Mr Higgins was in the UK for a holiday. The article also reported that the Secretary of the English FA had, in April 1989, written to the 92 Clubs of the English Football league, asking them to contact his office if any of them were thinking of getting involved with the Bob Higgins Soccer Academy.


3.     The allegations, which were denied by Bob Higgins, involved alleged abuse of 2 kids – between 1985 and 1987 – which abuse was alleged to have happened during Higgins’ time at Southampton.


4.     On hearing of these allegations, Dr George Abela and Fr Hilary travelled to the UK, in January 1990, and visited Bob Higgins in his home. They informed Mr Higgins that, pending the outcome of the course case, they were suspending him from his position within the MFA.


5.     On the 16th January, 1990, on their return to Malta, a meeting was held with the parents of the children who attended Ta’ Qali at the time, informing them of the allegations that were made against Bob Higgins, and of the decision to suspend Bob Higgins, pending the outcome of the court case.


6.     Two years later, in January, 1992, Bob Higgins was cleared of all charges brought against him – charges of 6 indecent assault on young footballers.  Higgins was given a no guilty verdict based on no evidence having been provided on any of the alleged offences.


7.     On the 9th April, 1992, i.e. 3 months after being found not guilty by the courts, the MFA again engaged Bob Higgins as its National Youth Development officer, on a 5 year contract with a 1 year probabtion, which contract was to commence on the 1st September, 1992.


8.     On the 14th June, 1993, the terms of the contract were revised, under the Presidency of Dr Joe Mifsud, following a request for this revision made by Bob Higgins, on the 17th May, 1993. The new contract was for a period of 4 years, commencing on 1st September 1993.


9.     On the 5th March, 1994, Bob Higgins submitted a letter of resignation from his post, which resignation was to take effect from 30th June, 1994.


10.  On the 15th March, 1994, the MFA Executive Committee accepted his resignation.


11.   On the 21st March, 1994, signed petitions were presented to the MFA by the parents of the boys under the charge of Bob Higgins, asking Bob Higgins and the MFA to reconsider their position regarding the resignation of Bob Higgins.


12.   On the 8th April, 1994, in a letter to the MFA Executive Committee, Bob Higgins informed the MFA that he “had decided to re-consider his Resignation and that he was willing to continue with his contractual commitments”


13.   On the 8th June, 1994, the MFA Executive Committee decided not to accept his re-instatement request and Bob Higgins’ contract was definitely terminated as at 31st May, 1994.

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