WHEN the Gibraltar Football Association (GFA) was granted admission to UEFA, it was made clear that the existing Victoria Stadium did not meet international standards, nor could it host enough spectators.
At the moment, all Gibraltar home games are played in Portugal at the Estádio Algarve near Faro which is over 390 kilometres to drive and the association has been in discussion with UEFA and the government of Gibraltar to try to agree a way forward.
There was a very strong initial thought of building a new stadium at Europa Point, the site of Gibraltar´s main mosque and home of its only cricket team. However, there has been a great deal of feeling against this choice from residents and environmentalists, with more than 5,000 people signing a petition against it.
There are two important factors governing any decision. Firstly, UEFA has made it clear that it will give no financial support to improve Victoria Stadium but it will assist the cost of building a new stadium and it has indicated will accept a capacity of less than 8,000.
Secondly, the government has to be intimately involved as it has to agree the siting of the new stadium to ensure that it is does not harm the environment. Also that it does not cause undue traffic problems during building and after and that it does not affect ongoing building plans for the area chosen.
The Gibraltar Football Association is now 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.
On a separate yet linked matter, Roy Gosling of Bristol Rovers and Gibraltar has been honoured in a dressing room spoof of Wayne Rooney for becoming Gibraltar´s highest scoring striker, with two goals to his name.