Football in Malta is run by the Malta Football Association and was introduced to the Maltese Islands during British rule in the mid-19th century. The sport at the time was new to England and was used as a means of entertainment for the soldiers stationed in Malta at the various barracks around Malta at the time. In 1863 a football association was formed which governed rules and regulations for this quickly changing sport, which was still in amateur competition stage and played in an un-scheduled format until 1909 when a league format was introduced.
The association runs the national football team, as well as administering the semi-professional
Maltese Football League and the Maltese Cup for club sides.
Normal league activity resumed in 1945, after the end of the war with the league format of four teams joining including Sliema Wanderers and Floriana. Maltese FA in the 1940s doubled the size of the number of registered clubs within ten years. Many of today's familiar names joined the league including Valletta and Hibernians. Hibernians is a team that represents the village of Paola (Raħal Ġdid)
Interest in the Maltese league continued throughout the 1950s, 1960's and 1970s with fifteen more clubs joining the league including Birkirkara FC in 1950. It was, however, Hibernians and Valletta who put together a good challenge to Sliema Wanderers and Floriana.
The 1980s saw the monopolization of Sliema Wanderers and Floriana finally come to an end with four different clubs taking most of the honours in this decade.
At present, there are a number of clubs with the resources and capability of winning the championship trophy, which is now called the Maltese Premier League trophy.