The Malta Sports Journalists Association in a statement said that it joins the local sporting community in wishing a Happy Birthday to long standing sport journalist Mario Meli who celebrates his 80th birthday tomorrow.
Mario Meli, an ex sports broadcaster with PBS and freelance sport journalist, is celebrating also in 2020, 60 years in his distinguished sport media career. It was in February 1962 when he joined the then Rediffusion, now Public Broadcasting Services Malta.
His sterling career saw him first assisting and then anchoring an array of Sports programmes on National TV. For several years he was the automatic choice for commentaries of the Malta International team matches for TVM. Two outstanding historical commentaries done by Meli were the two away matches against Estonia (0-1) and the (1-1) draw against Hungary in Budapest.
During his journalistic career Mario Meli had the opportunity to interview a vast number of international sport personalities such as Joe Havelange, the ex FIFA President, Antonio Samaranch, the ex International Olympic Committee President, Joseph Blatter the ex FIFA Secretary, Lennart Johansson ex UEFA President, Sebastian Coe, Stanley Matthews, Bobby Moore, Pele, and Franz Beckenbauer amongst others.
Meli also proudly reported for PBS several international events such as the FIFA World Cup, Commonwealth Games, Mediterranean Games, Small Nations Games and several other World championships.
Apart from his regular service to PBS, Meli was also a regular contributor in the newspaprt ‘Sport’, published in the 60’s and 70’s and also a contributor for Maltese newspaper ‘In-Nazzjon’. His several sports publications were a rubber stamp of his love for local sport.
In his younger days Mario held the 800m and 1,500m national records in athletics and then also moved to coaching, football, swimming and athletics. He retired from sports journalism in 2016.
Meli was also very active from the administration side of Sport where he was one of the founders of the Sports Writer’s Association in 1970 (Għaqda Ġurnalisti Sports) and served in the committee in various posts.
Mario Meli (first from left) with the first committee of the Malta Spots Writers Association in 1970
He sat on the committee of several local sports associations namely the Malta Billiards and Snooker Association, the Malta Table Tennis Association, the MAAA and also served for five years as an executive member within the Maltese Olympic Committee under the leadership of Dr Gino Camilleri.
He also served as President for seven years of the Malta Cycling Federation were he had introduced the ‘Tour ta’ Malta’.
Meli was also the President of Gymstars Gymnastics Club, Chairman of the Malta Employees Sport Association, Chairman of Special Olympics. He is still active in the administration of local football where he sits on the MFA Council where he has kept his seat for the past 20 years.
His latest tangible initiative was the foundation of the Masters Football Malta which was established in 2013. Meli is the current President of this Association.
Ad multos annos Mario.