The Nationalist Party has pledged to "revolutionise sports in Malta" if elected in the upcoming general election on March 26. 

Addressing a press conference on Sunday, PN candidates Graham Bencini and Chris Micallef gave an overview of 20 sports-related proposals found in the party's electoral manifesto. 

"The PN in government will revolutionise sports in Malta. Prime Minister Robert Abela and his government still see sports as something for amateurs.  

"I believe this is one of the best sets of proposals for sports that has ever been put forward by any party. We want our athletes to flourish," Micallef said. 

The candidates said that the PN's proposals will also help encourage more people to take up sports, something that is urgently needed given the country's high obesity rates. 

"We are worried about obesity. This is another thing the government has failed in. Young people with COVID-19 were at higher risk of complications because of obesity and we saw that happen because of Malta high obesity rates. We will do what the Labour in government failed to do," Micallef said. 

What are the 20 sports proposals?

1. Sports will be considered of national priority and the PN commits to invest in facilities of the highest standards. 

2. Nurseries/academies to receive €500 for every participant under 18. 

3. Tax on income from sports will be slashed to five per cent on the first €80,000.

4. All expenses related to sports will be removed from taxable income. This will no longer be capped.  

5. People under 18 who participate in sports will get an annual payment of €300. 

6. A Sports Ministry will be set up. 

7. A sports facility for the study of the science of sports will be set up. The campus will be of the highest standard and will have accommodation, physical training and facilities for data collection and analysis. 

8. Those who sponsor clubs or associations will benefit from a tax credit of up to 50 per cent. 

9. Improve the sports school to ensure better quality.  

10. Help nurseries to apply for commercialisation.  

11. Give an identity to voluntary organisations. We want to shift the mentality from one that sees these as amateur to professional. 

12. Work on Malta being named the City/Island of Sport.

13. Budget of an additional €2 million to help those participating in the next Small Nations’ Games taking place in Malta.  

14. Increase financial incentives for those in elite sports. "COVID-19 confirmed the government could not distinguish between elite and amateur sports. We will be doing the opposite," Bencini said. 

15. Set up a €1 million fund per year for sporting competitions abroad. The funds will be allocated according to set guidelines and issued by SportMalta. 

16. Step up support for the Special Olympics. "We acknowledge the improvements made and we will be given more financial support as well as infrastructural support," Micallef noted.   

17. Allocate €1 million every year for a new fund to support sports entities.  

18. Issue tax credit for special leave for athletes. People have to take time off from their own leave when they have to travel for their sport, the candidates said.

19. Work on the Hal Far motorsports track will commence immediately. 

20. Set up a new national television, free to air, dedicated solely to sport and which will air all types of sports.

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