Football is the most popular sport in Malta
. 11,400 footballers (including 6,500 youth players and 200 women), 250 coaches and 206 referees (including 6 women referees) are registered with the Malta
Football Association. After the opening of the national association's technical centre, a football school was set up in 1986 by Father Hilary Taglieferro. The most talented players in age groups from U-6 and U-14 are gathered together every year for training sessions with one full-time and six part-time coaches. The technical department falls directly under the responsibility of the national association's executive committee and is headed by Horst Heese of Germany. Four times a week, his compatriot and Malta
national coach Sigfried Held assembles all the national team players not playing abroad for training sessions to supplement the coaching they receive with their clubs. Malta
's most famous footballer, Carmel Buttusil of Sliema Wanderers, has made a record 113 appearances for his country.