14th September 2015, 10:26
The Gibraltar Football Association is to look into the possibility of a new stadium at Lathbury Barracks after the Government has agreed to make the site available as an alternative to Europa Point. This follows confirmation from UEFA that it would not contribute financially to an upgrade of Victoria Stadium but it would fund the construction of a new stadium elsewhere. UEFA has also conceded that the stadium in Gibraltar may host fewer than 8,000 spectators.
The GFA says that over the past year it has listened to the genuine objections to a stadium at Europa Point. It states construction of a stadium at Lathbury will be subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment and approval from the Development & Planning Commission. UEFA has insisted on a Category Four stadium in order for Gibraltar to be able to host the national team’s games but will fund the proposed new stadium which aims to accommodate between 4,000 and 6,000 spectators.
The Football Association says it is willing to engage with shareholders in the Lathbury site, including environmental groups, and says it will work with local architects to make this a truly Gibraltarian project of which the whole community can be proud. It says that together with the government and the rugby and cricket associations, it will also look into the possibility of sensitively developing the Europa Point area for the use of these sports, while maintaining its open space. As far as football is concerned, it wants smaller pitches for training and for the development of the game.
The GFA’s General Secretary, Dennis Beiso says it’s been a long year of negotiations but that the Association is absolutely delighted with the result achieved. He adds the GFA’s successes had always been ones celebrated by the community as a whole and that it was with deep sadness that it saw how the proposed construction of the stadium at Europa Point caused division and opposition. Mr Beiso thanked the Chief Minister for his unflinching support for the sport and for having considered making the Lathbury site available. He added it was a site with tremendous potential, which the community as a whole could be proud of, and one that the GFA would make available to other sports, schools and cultural activities. The Association, he added, was now keen to move forward to bring international football to its home in Gibraltar.