By Euro Weekly News Media • 19 April 2017 • 8:14
EVER since the Gibraltar Football Association was accepted for membership of UEFA and FIFA there has been a problem with the stadium.
Currently, the Victoria Stadium does not meet international regulations and the Gibraltar national team has had to play its matches in Portugal whilst long debates have taken place as to where a new stadium could be built.
Victoria Stadium, which is owned by the government, was considered unsuitable for development and other locations, particularly at Europa Point and Lathbury Parade, were both considered but proved to be unviable.
Following discussions between the GFA and UEFA it had been agreed that as no other alternative was available that Gibraltar would be allowed to develop a UEFA Category 4 National Football Stadium on the footprint of the existing stadium provided that the GFA owned it.
To this end therefore the Gibraltar Government has agreed to sell the stadium to the GFA for £16.5 million and the funding for this purchase, together with an additional £15 million for development, will be supplied by FIFA and UEFA over a period of years.
The funds paid to the government to transfer ownership of the stadium will then be used for the relocation of certain current users of the stadium and the building of new sporting facilities for them to use.
The Victoria Stadium will still be available for use for certain sports subject to the needs of the Football Association but in this scenario, Gibraltar appears to be about to see a completely refurbished stadium which will allow it to host international games on the Rock whilst other sports will benefit from new facilities supplied by the government but at no cost to the taxpayer.
There will be a need for substantial work to be undertaken on the existing stadium which will mean that local football teams will be unable to play European matches at the stadium as they have in the past year but it is believed that all UEFA Champions and Europa League matches, as well as UEFA and FIFA internationals, will be played in Gibraltar from 2018.
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