Tonio Cini not re-contesting for President of Malta Motorsport Federation after 12 years

Tonio Cini

Malta Motorsport Federation President Tonio Cini has informed the MMF administration and affiliated members that he will not be re-contesting for the post of President at the next Annual General Meeting that will be taking place on Monday 30th November 2020, after having served as President for the past 12 years.

In the beginning of his presidency, together with the administration team, the MMF ran a reach out exercise with all the clubs to map their respective motorsport operational processes and for the Federation to effectively assist and instil best practices in motor sport. Since then, there has been ample progress and effort to bring together different Maltese motorsport organisations, with the sole aim to support and protect members’ interests and regulate the sport in accordance with applicable national directives and decisions including those issued by international organizations such as the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), which the MMF is affiliated with.

In 2009, during the SportMalta Awards – Għażliet Sportivi Nazzjonali, Cini was voted as the Official of the Year. In 2011, the MMF under Cini’s leadership were honoured to welcome the FIA President Jean Todt for his first visit in Malta. In 2014, Cini was appointed as member of the FIA ASN Development Task Force by FIA President Jean Todt, an FIA grouping with only 17 selected members from different countries and jurisdictions around the world. This task force’s aim was to sustain Motorsport’s growth on a global scale. In the subsequent years, the Malta Motorsport Federation was accepted as full member of the FIA Central European Zone (CEZ) together with other 14 countries and has also been approved as full member with the Malta Olympic Committee (MOC)

Throughout the past 12 years several projects supported by the FIA were implemented, including the implementation of the Train the Trainer, Young Drivers Training Programme and the ASN Development project in Malta and in the UK. Such projects were held with the support of MSA UK. Moreover, two years ago, the MMF has also managed to successfully complete an Erasmus project to train motorsport officials by shadowing international events in Italy with the support of ACI Sport. The Federation has also managed to get an exceptional approval from the World Motor Sport Council, for Maltese karting drivers to compete in Italy and Sicily with a Maltese National Karting Licence issued by MMF. Such approval means that karting drivers competing in national karting events announced at national level will be able to score points in the classification of the said Championship and even be declared overall winners of the said championship at National level in Italy and Sicily.

Since his presidency, motorsport recognition and appreciation in the country has increased even on a political level, and all affiliated clubs are now operating in a more efficient and effective manner. The reduction to 0% of the tax rate for the importation of motor racing vehicles and the 35% reduced road tax for motorists who opt to use their vehicles and motorcycles only on weekends and public holidays are few of the achievements registered by the Federation. Two major events where spearheaded by the Federation and these are the Gozo Gran Sprint in 2010, the Malta Motorsport Awards and last year with the Valletta Revival Show for affiliated static clubs. During his presidency, the Road Safety and Motorsport Facility, which is the longstanding goal of the federation, was raised to the top of the political agenda with the two major political parties promising to develop the facility in their electoral manifesto.

Addressing the members, Cini stated he “would like to praise all our clubs and associations for the efforts that they have done especially now during such a difficult period we are all living due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the clubs have worked tirelessly during this pandemic period, to keep high the enthusiasm by organising successful events while respecting the health protocols.” He continued that “he was proud to say that collectively the MMF and the motorsport community managed to increase the respect and recognition towards our sport throughout these years by operating more responsibly and professionally.”

With all this in mind, Cini explained that he feels that the MMF is now on the optimal path to be able to continue building its motorsport regulatory and nurturing role, and it is time to pass the baton on to a new president that will continue guiding the sport organisation with the same positive direction. It is with this knowledge of a sound motorsport foundation that he has not re-submitted his nomination for the post of President of the MMF at the elections to be held during the forthcoming AGM on Monday.

Concluding, Cini stated, “I have been honoured to serve our members and the motorsport community and, with the support of the elected representatives in the Administration Council, the MMF has managed to register important milestones during my presidency which I shall be expounding upon during the forthcoming AGM. Cini concluded by thanking his team throughout the 12 years in particular the Administrative Council of the Federation, all affiliated members, racing drivers, enthusiasts, officials and marshals, the FIA President Jean Todt, Vice President Graham Stoker, ACI Sport President Angelo Sticchi Damiani, and Secretary Marco Ferrari, CEZ President Zrinko Gregurek, all FIA and CEZ members and officials, the Prime Minister and Ministries in particular the Parliamentary Secretaries for Sport Dr Clifton Grima, Chris Agius and Clyde Puli that he worked directly with through the 12 years, SportMalta Chairman Dr Luciano Busuttil, CEO Mark Cutajar, and Sport Regulator Dr Karen Zammit Southernwood and staff, MOC President Julian Pace Bonello and Secretary Joseph Cassar and all the local media in particular the Sporting Journalists who in a way or another reported and promoted the local motorsport and motoring events and the Federation.”

During the upcoming election, there will also be contestation for the post of Vice President and Vice Secretary since the current Vice President Jesmond Mangion, and the current Vice Secretary Dr Wayne Pisani unfortunately had to resign and not re-submit their nomination due to work and personal commitments. The nominated persons for the vacant posts within the Administration of the Federation are, for the post of President of the Federation Jonathan Bruno and Duncan Micallef, for Vice President George Abdilla and William England and for the post of Vice Secretary Oliver Attard.