We caught up with Gibraltar international Jamie Bosio to get his reaction on Gibraltar United withdrawing from the league, his continuos battle over unpaid medical expenses and his future in football.
Yesterday it was announced that Gibraltar United would be withdrawn from the Gibraltar National League after ongoing financial issues, Bosio gave us his reaction to the news – “Given the way things have escalated in the last few months, to be honest, it’s not surprising whatsoever. Obviously, you try to be hopeful but in this case it was something that everyone could see coming. When players are owed two months wages from the season before going into a new preseason, that’s a sign that things aren’t right. I’m disappointed because I’ve spent three years with Gibraltar United and many people in the local community have an affiliation to this club which had been in existence for a combined total of 75 years. So yes it’s a sad day, but yes the writing was on the wall.”
Salgado and Dana took over at Gibraltar United in April 2017, a move at that time which was massive but would end up leaving a sour taste in the mouths of people in GIbraltar. We asked Bosio if he ever thought a situation like this would have ever come about after their ownership, “When the new investors came in you try to be optimistic and they seemed legitimate. They sold themselves very well at the start and basically told the old owners everything they wanted to hear. Because of Michel Salgado putting his reputation on the line and becoming “the face” of the club we expected nothing but the best. However, that was the first and last time we saw him. Pablo Dana was always in contact with the board and players initially but this is something that started to deteriorate as time went by.”
Late payments became a normal occurence for many of the players but days turned into weeks and now leaves them three months unpaid. We asked Bosio what kind of impact this has had on his former team-mate, “Most of my teammates are obviously distraught, especially those from last season who had put in endless hours of hard work and sacrifice with no reward. It’s not fair that players give up so much (especially those with family and children abroad) to be treated in this way. Especially now so close to the start of the new season, it’s also going to be difficult for them to find new clubs as most teams are probably set on their final squad numbers by now.”
A serious injury last season forced Jamie Bosio to seek medical treatement abroad – on his return, the club refused to reimburse him which resulted in almost taking up the situation in court – Bosio told us more, “My injury is something that they mismanaged from the time it happened in October last year. At that moment, when a club stops caring for a players health is when I knew my relationship with them could end very badly. Unfortunately, that is what happened… To this day I have spent out of pocket over £16,000 in medical fees, that include my operation, consultations, scans and physio sessions. The club itself doesn’t have any player medical insurance. I was told that things would be taken care of yet here we are nearly a whole year later with not a penny received. And now, it’s looking highly unlikely that any of that will ever be paid back to me. If a club cannot care for its players in the human aspect then it shouldn’t be selling itself as a “professional” set up.”
312 days later, Bosio’s recovery goes from stride to stride but still no payment in sight from Gibraltar United – we asked if the club has made any type of confirmation regarding the payment, “I’ve been waiting for months for a meeting to try to settle the debts amicably or try to some sort of compromise but to no avail. To his credit, Adrian Ballestero has tried his best but this and much more issues at the club go beyond him and can only be dealt with by the owners and directors. If the club owes players (not just me) money then someone surely should be held accountable, or is it ok for them to walk away from their problems and leave this mess behind? Surely the GFA need to look into the investors of local clubs that come from abroad and make sure they are legit in what they are offering.”
After the season kicked off last night, it’s a last minute rush for his team-mates and him to make arrangements with other clubs – we asked what the future holds for the 27-year old, “At the moment I’m completely disillusioned with football in Gibraltar. The serious injury has been mentally draining on myself but this added to it has been awful. I’m strongly considering my next move, ignoring all financial aspects and looking to go somewhere where I will enjoy playing football again. I’m focusing on getting myself match fit again and keeping on top of my rehabilitation programme above all else.”