Premier League newcomers Gżira United have secured a boost ahead of the 2016/17 season in the shape of a three-year sponsorship deal with a German betting company.

Tipbet, who are one of the commercial partners of Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen, will be Gżira United’s chief sponsors after discussions between the two parties led to an agreement earlier this week.

Gżira United, promoted to the BOV Premier League as Division One champions, described the Tipbet sponsorship as “the biggest the club has ever had and an important step in our preparations” for their first top-flight campaign in 35 years.

“Tipbet operate from their offices in Gżira and, during a visit by Mayor Conrad Borg Manchè, they expressed their interest to make a contribution to the locality,” the club said in a statement.

“After explaining in detail the progress and professional way with which Gżira United worked last season, which saw the club being promoted to the Premier League as champions of the first division without defeat, the company (Tipbet) agreed to be the main sponsors for the next three years.”

While thanking Tipbet for their backing, Sharlon Pace, the president of Gżira United said this sponsorship represented another challenge for the club.

“This financial support is an investment in our players to produce positive results and honour Gżira United, you (Tipbet) as our official sponsors and other contributors for the coming season,” Pace was quoted as saying.

Since wrapping up their promotion to the BOV Premier League, Pace and his fellow club officials have been working relentlessly to boost the club’s financial resources with a view to strengthening their squad and technical set-up for next season.

It is an open secret that Gżira United have all but reached agreement with Branko Nisevic to be their new coach.

Nisevic, widely regarded as one of the best coaches in Maltese football, led Hibernians to the Premier League title in season 2014/15 but his three-year spell came to an end last month when the club announced that they had terminated the Serbian coach’s contract by mutual agreement.

Gżira United’s move for Nisevic cast serious doubts over Darren Abdilla’s future with the club but the young coach, who masterminded the team’s successful promotion bid last season, signed a new three-year deal last week after being offered a new role within the club’s technical set-up.

The Maroons are also actively scouring the market with a view to bolstering their squad with the signing of new players, especially foreigners.

It is understood that Gżira are on the brink of signing Brazilian playmaker Rafael Ledesma who won the league title with Valletta following his mid-season switch from Sliema Wanderers.

Abdelkarim Nafti, who has not been offered a new contract by Valletta, was also expected to join Gżira United but the latter want to assess other options before making a decision on whether to sign the Tunisian winger.


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