Lija complex costing it €1.8 million a year
The government of Malta is spending €1.8 million per year on the Lija Athletics Track and Sports Complex after its privatization fell through due to a lack of interest. The complex, which is equipped with a 400-meter running track, football pitch, and other sports facilities, has been a financial burden on the Maltese government, given the lack of utilization by athletes and sports clubs in the country.
Initially, the Lija Athletics Track and Sports Complex was commissioned by the Maltese government to provide sports facilities to the public and encouraged athletes and sports enthusiasts to engage in physical activity. However, after its construction, the complex failed to attract sports clubs, athletes and the public. Therefore, the Malta government decided to sell it to a private company in 2016, after two unsuccessful tenders to redevelop the sport’s facility. The idea behind privatization was to utilize the empty fields in the construction of apartments and commercial spaces, with the promise of providing sports facilities to the prospective inhabitants. Unfortunately, the government failed to attract any offers for the facility, leasing it back to the government’s Sports Malta agency.
Since the public is not using the complex to its full extent, it remains a heavy burden on the Maltese government, costing the taxpayers €1.8 million annually. The Maltese government has come under scrutiny by the opposition, as it struggles with the cost of running and maintaining the Sports Complex. Several news outlets in Malta have reported the story, urging the opposition to take the necessary steps for the private sector to take an interest in the complex.
The Lija Athletics Track and Sports Complex is a classic example of an infrastructure project that has not proven to be useful but is costly to maintain despite a lack of interest from the public and private industries. It is crucial that the Maltese government takes the necessary steps to either revitalize the facility or find viable alternatives to ensure taxpayers’ money is utilized optimally.