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National League teams “agree prize-sharing deal”

All 12 Gibraltar National League teams are believed to have today agreed a prize-sharing deal, which will see prize money earned by the teams competing in Europe distributed among the whole league.

Photo (C) Black and Burst

The deal, which has reportedly been in the works for some time, would likely come into effect from next season, and would be a very welcome cash flow for some of Gibraltar’s less financially affluent sides, who have had to live on the breadline in recent years in order to survive. The exact specifics of the deal, such as how much of the prize money is shared, and how it is distributed, is believe to have not yet to be ironed out though, and this is expected to be done in the coming weeks.

Prize-sharing of some sort has been a much-called for move among local footballing circles, with some calling for it ever since Gibraltar joined UEFA, and the startling statistic that of the 24 teams in Gibraltar since the 2012/13 season, some 11 of them have either been disbanded or gone out of business, will have only strengthened the movement for this prize-sharing to be agreed. In fact, the National League losing four teams last season (Gib United, Gib Phoenix, Leo & Olympique) will also have been thought about when signing this deal.

More information is expected to be revealed in the coming weeks about this agreement, which FG will bring you news about as and when it becomes available.

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Camilleri: ” We shall carry on believing in our structure of developing players”

FG caught up with Manchester 62 President John Charles Camilleri to discuss his clubs season, the fact they gave more minutes to Gibraltarian’s than any other club last season, and his hopes for the club next season.

Photo (C) Black and Burst

Manchester finished the terminated season in 9th position, ending up with 19 points from 18 games – how does Camilleri feel the side did overall? “We started the season with hopes of having a team that the current club’s philosophy could follow and relate to. I believe the early changes in Head Coach was not seen helpful to the squad but the addition of David Wilson gave the team stability and structure for the remainder of the season.

Our players have tried their best every single game, they had their good days and bad days as we all have. Overall, the club is proud of what we achieved last season in regards to our HGP and it’s something we would like to follow on this season but football has many twists and turns.

As mentioned, Manchester gave by far the most minutes to Home Grown Players (HGP’s) this season – amassing a total of 11,853 minutes, some 3,740 minutes more than their nearest challengers in the HGP table, Glacis United – that commitment to locals is something the Manchester President is very proud of clearly: “Well we are extremely proud of these players, to have them put their trust in our structure and philosophy is the most rewarding factor. They deserve all the merit on the tough season we had. We as a club provide all the tools possible for them to perform at the highest level, we are extremely proud of the team bonding they have built during the course of the season (our football family).

This club being a very keen supporter and developer of local youth football our aim is to feed our players through on a yearly basis. What’s the point of the club youth coaches (volunteers) pouring hundreds of hours yearly in youth football and then not providing a platform for them to play when they reach the age of 17-23!

As with all clubs, Manchester have had to adapt to the current global situation, which led to the early termination of the 2019/20 Gibraltar National League – so how have Manchester adapted? “Well the sudden stop in football has meant that from our under 5’s through to our Seniors they have been missing out on their weekly get togethers. For us (club) the ‘family’ had been separated and not seeing them on a weekly basis was very hard, it’s not all about money or personal gains… it has been more about missing seeing each other, fighting together to overcome dificult games together and being pushed to your maximum during training which has been most hard to overcome. We had players logging on to online sessions and trying to achieve all of the above via social media stream together. (Both in Seniors and Youth)

Finally, we asked Camilleri what his hopes for Manchester 62 were next season: “My hopes for the team next year are the same as my hopes for Manchester 62 Fc and Gibraltar Football in general. We will continue to try and play a style of football which is attractive and aggressive to the best of our possibilities. We shall carry on believing in our structure of developing players for the future for our club and our national teams.

For myself as club president the top priority for Manchester 62 Fc are the following.

Be Sustainable
• Be Competitive
• Develop as much youth players as possible
• Build a even bigger ‘Football Family’
• Keep improving our Youth Academy.

The last thing we want to do is disappear like others clubs have due to financial meltdowns. It is the currents Club committees main aim to keep the 58 years of this clubs history in local football as strong as always, So our aim is sustainability sustainability and sustainability.

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Boca announce new technical team and sponsorship deal

Stephen Vaughan Jr and Luke Purcell will front a new-look Boca technical team next season, as part of a wider announcement by the club which sees a multi-year sponsorship with Total Sports Management also announced this morning.

Photo (C) Black & Burst

The news, which was teased by Boca yesterday, was announced this morning, and sees Total Sports Management (TSM), who Boca state are “best known for its involvement in combat sports, particularly boxing, representing professional boxers internationally and promoting world championship boxing events throughout Europe” sponsor the club as of July 1st. The deal also sees TSM representative William Adamson join Boca as the commercial director.

Speaking to the official Boca site, managing director of the club, Aaron Edwards, said: “We have been in discussions with Total Sports Management since December last year about a sponsorship opportunity, but due to various factors, including the developing COVID-19 pandemic, it was not possible at the time

With regards the new technical team, both Vaughan Jr and Purcell have been appointed to the team, although the club did not state if the pair are joint-managers or one is a manager with the other the assistant. The pair previously worked together at Welsh side Bangor City FC, with Vaughan Jr having had spells as both manager and chairman of the club in his time at the at times financially-troubled Welsh team, who signed Hugo Colace and Esteban Goicoechea from Mons Calpe in January, as well as former St Joseph’s, Lincoln & Lynx defender Fede Tobler.

Vaughan Jr has also had spells as President of Maltese side Floriana, as well as technical director of Mosta, and has worked alongside his father, the former Barrow and Chester owner, Stephen Vaughan Sr. As for Purcell, was a first team coach at Southport FC, before becoming General Manager of Bangor City.

Vaughan Sr’s time at Floriana was not without its own apparent controversies, with FIFPro at the time stating that: “Finally, FIFPro is astonished that a person who has been banned from English club management – because he failed the FA director’s test – can apparently join and run a professional football club in Malta, as is the case at Floriana FC. This has its consequences, as various professional footballers have found out and their family’s lives have been put in jeopardy.” in a 2013 statement – however there is no proof or even suggestion that Vaughan Sr has any role at Boca whatsoever under this new sponsorship deal, or the management team.

The club also noted that: “Existing fitness coach Jesus Gallardo and physio Gavin Vinales will continue in their roles at the club, while former head coach Craig Cowell will now be the manager of our newly-formed under-23 team.”

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Local charity receives 50,000 EUR grant from UEFA Foundation for Children

Local charity Help Me Learn Africa has received a grant of 50,000 euros from the UEFA Foundation for Children, after being nominated by the Gibraltar FA, who have worked with the charity previously, including donating national team kits.

Photo (C) GFA

The charity, run by Gibraltarian Louise Barea, aims to raise funds for children in Africa to have an education, with their aim being to support local community schools in impoverished countries, whilst empowering people to volunteer and gain life-changing experiences. The charity has notably worked in Ghana, and due to its long-standing relationship with the GFA, it was nominated to the UEFA Foundation Board of Trustees, who today confirmed to the GFA that the charity would receive the grant of 50,000 EUR.

After the news was announced, GFA General Secretary Ivan Robba, talking on the official GFA site, said: “This is a fantastic recognition for Help Me Learn Africa, and a first for a Gibraltar charity, as the UEFA Foundation is a prestigious foundation that has worked with many charities worldwide. I have known Louise for many years and have been following her incredible work with Help Me Learn Africa which goes from strength to strength.

Her dedication to the cause is exemplary, and I had no hesitation in nominating the charity for this award. I am extremely happy for her and all those who will benefit from this award, and also grateful to the Board of Trustees of UEFA Foundation for Children for choosing our nomination.”

Also speaking to the GFA site, Louise Barea, founder of the charity, said: “I am in complete shock. I really didn’t expect to receive such recognition, but it just proves what I believe; that in life the more you give the more you receive. This award will have a huge impact on the lives of thousands of children living below the poverty line and I am excited to show the world all that we can do with it.

Thank you UEFA Foundation for Children for choosing Help Me Learn Africa, and a massive thank you to Ivan Robba for nominating us and to the Gibraltar FA for the ongoing support, trust and faith in me and my charity.”


HelpMeLearnAfrica are looking to expand into Kenya and Uganda in 2020, and you can find out more about the charitable organisation here.

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Lynx come out in support of decisions to finalize football and futsal seasons

Lynx FC have this afternoon issued a statement, where they have said they support the decisions made to finalize the league in both football and futsal.

Photo (C) Lynx FC

Lynx, who were fourth in the Gibraltar National League, and first in the Futsal Premier Division, said it was “easier said than done” to try and not declare the leagues or cups null and void, while also confirming that it is “business as usual” at the club, who have confirmed they are maintaining their “posture toward protecting the interest” of their players and staff.

Lynx also reference the high number of minutes given to Home Grown Players in football season, as reported by Football Gibraltar earlier this week, where Lynx had given the third most minutes to HGP’s, and the most of any of the top six teams in the league. While they say that they had a mathematical chance of finishing third, and potentially securing a Europa League spot, they state they are “realistic and humble enough to say that Lincoln deserves the third spot and are the better team this season.”

Lynx have become the first team to publicly support the decision to finalise and null and void the leagues, after Europa FC and Mons Calpe SC voiced their opposition in earlier statements, and Lynx’s support is notable given that in futsal they have been denied a league title despite being 11 points clear of Europa in second, with a game to go before the playoffs.

The club also note they received the £5,000 prize money for qualifying for the UEFA Futsal Champions League, which the club, who are the only team to have represented Gibraltar in futsal in Europe, state that it was thanks to them the prize money was introduced. Lynx state “Considering the league Null or void, The Board was of the view that this amount should go to Lynx FC as its main purpose is to assist UEFA Futsal CL rep with the costs associated with the tournament.”

The final paragraph of the statement, which you can view here, sees Lynx say “The club will continue doing what we do best, and that is to speak the truth, support the community and push Locals to the highest stage of their careers.”

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Mons Calpe express disappointment regarding decision to finalise league and cup without a winner

Mons Calpe this evening issued a statement, where they expressed their disappointment at the recent decision made to finalise the League, without deciding a League winner, as well as the termination of the Gibtelecom Cup, where they were semi-finalists.

Photo (C) C Correa Photography

Mons, who earlier today announced positive news on the condition of their manager Luis Manuel Blanco, who was hospitalised a month ago after testing positive for Covid-19, came out this evening in agreement with Europa FC’s statement over the decision made to terminate and then null and void the league and cup.

The statement, in which Mons claims that there are “high possibilities in which defining matches could take place safely, behind closed doors“, came despite today’s ‘Unlock the Rock’ document, released by HM Government of Gibraltar, states that: “At this initial stage of the unlocking process, invasion and most ball sports cannot be considered, given that it will be practically impossible to keep to social distancing requirements. These are to include, but are not limited to, basketball, football, netball, hockey and rugby. There is an entirely unavoidable and natural level of contact associated to these kinds of sports and it would be a challenge to observe social distancing in most instances of anything resembling ‘normal’ training and play. It is therefore envisaged that it is unlikely that these sports will be able to resume any time soon”.

The club, who were due to face Europa in the Gibtelecom Cup semi-final, argued that they had the chance of winning the cup, and therefore securing a Europa League spot. They also argue against the established rule across Europe, that if the winner of the domestic cup already qualifies for Europe, that the spot drops to the highest ranked league team without guaranteed European qualification, a rule which was bought in in recent years – notably not until after 2013/14 when Manchester 62 thought they had qualified for Europa League football by finishing second in the league, only for Europa to claim the spot as cup runners up after a 1-0 loss to Lincoln in the Rock Cup final.

Mons statement further goes on to state their belief that Gibraltar “should be observing how other nations and leagues are managing the finalisation of competitions”, while also stressing that Gibraltar should “not be going against UEFA’s recommendation, but instead attempt to complete every significant to ensure fairness is abided by throughout rather than making an abrupt decision.” However, the fact that the Goverment currently do not see any contact sports returning any time soon would appear to make that very unlikely unless there are significant changes.

You can view Mons Calpe’s full statement here

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All domestic matches to be played behind closed doors until further notice

The Gibraltar FA have this morning confirmed that all domestic football matches are to be played behind closed doors with immediate effect, which will see live matchday coverage of games on Football Gibraltar halted until further notice.

Photo (C) William Gracia

Following on from the advice issued yesterday by HM Government of Gibraltar regarding Covid-19, and after discussions with the Director of Public Health, the GFA have made the decision that only players, coaches and GFA officials will be allowed to access the Victoria Stadium, with signage to be displayed around the stadium with the necessary advice.

The GFA’s statement continues: “Traditional pre match and post-match handshakes have also been suspended with immediate effect.

All clubs have been advised, by the Gibraltar FA, to implement a 1 parent per child policy at youth team training sessions.

The Gibraltar FA is constantly monitoring the situation and is liaising with all the relevant authorities and stakeholders. Advice and information affecting any future events will be issued in due course.

We would like to thank everyone for their understanding and co-operation and urge everyone to take heed of the advice issued by HM Government of Gibraltar and the Gibraltar Health Authority. If anyone has any concerns please call the 111 Covid-19 helpline for further advice.

Football Gibraltar will still maintain its non-stadium coverage of local football, but there will be no matchday coverage on our FGScoreCentre Twitter handle, starting with tonight’s Gibtelecom Rock Cup matches, until further notice.

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Gibraltar v Georgia: Preview

Gibraltar take on Georgia tonight at the Victoria Stadium, as the hosts look to get their first points of the European Qualifiers in front of their own fans.

Photo © C Correa Photography

With the final two group games being against Denmark and Switzerland, today realistically represents Gibraltar’s best chance of getting a positive result, and a year on from recording back-to-back wins in the Nations League, Julio Ribas side will be looking to recreate those historic moments against their opponents.

Georgia, like Gib, can not qualify directly for Euro 2020 via Group D, but they have the fall-back option of a guaranteed play-off spot after winning their Nations League group last year. They beat Gib 3-0 in Tbilisi back in June, and Vladimir Weiss’ side will know that victory tonight will at least ensure they can not finish last in their group.

The visitors arrived yesterday into Gibraltar, albeit with only a squad of 19 after four players withdrew from the squad who faced Ireland in a battling 0-0 draw last weekend – Tornike Oqrishvili, Saba Lobzhanidze and Vako Gvilia are injured, while Guram Kashia leaves the squad in order to get married. For Gibraltar, the only confirmed change to the squad is Bradley Banda replacing Dayle Coleing, who suffered a recurrence of the hamstring injury he suffered vs Switzerland last month, when playing against Kosovo in a friendly international last week.

At the press conference yesterday afternoon, Ribas spoke about how it was “disrespectful” to refer to Georgia as Gibraltar’s weakest opponent in Group D – both because of their recent results, which include draws vs Ireland and Denmark, and because that Gibraltar must respect their opponents in the same way Gib want to be respected by their opponents.

Ribas also noted the possibility of changes to his eleven tonight from the last qualifier in Sion, with the manager saying there was “concern, but not worries” over the recovery of a couple of players from Thursday’s very physical friendly, where a deflected effort saw Gib lose 1-0 in Prishtina. Liam Walker is expected to start though, with the midfielder, Gibraltar’s highest capped player since UEFA admission, rested on Thursday night to ensure he was fully fit for tonight. Both Joseph and Roy Chipolina are also in line to earn their 40th caps for the national team post-UEFA.

Betting:

Georgia are 2/9 favourites to pick up all three points tonight at the Victoria Stadium, with the draw currently 6/1 and a Gibraltar win as high as 18/1. A repeat of June’s 3-0 victory for tonight’s visitors is currently 6/1, while a 1-0 Gibraltar victory is priced at 40/1.

With Gibraltar expected to be stubborn defensively, much like on Thursday night, there could be value in backing Gibraltar +2 on the handicap, which is currently 6/5 best price. Meanwhile, if you fancy the Georgians to win and keep a clean sheet, that is currently a best price of 31/40.

FG’s Predicted XI:

Goldwin; Sergeant, J. Chipolina, R. Chipolina, Olivero; Mouelhi; Walker, Hernandez, Badr, Casciaro; De Barr

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Kosovo v Gibraltar: Preview

Gibraltar take on Kosovo this evening in an international friendly, as they prepare for Tuesday’s qualifier at home to Georgia.

Photo © Naps

The game, between two sides who joined FIFA on the same day in 2016, will be ideal preparation for the upcoming qualifier, and will provide a stern test given Kosovo went nearly two years unbeaten before losing 5-3 away at England in their most recent qualifier back in September.

The hosts have made impressive progress in the short time they have been on the international football scene, and find themselves with a great chance of actually qualifying for Euro 2020 – they are only one point off an automatic qualifying spot in Group A of the qualifiers, and even if they fail to reach that, they have a guaranteed play-off spot due to winning their Nations League group last year.

For Gibraltar, tonight will no doubt be treated as if it was a full qualifier, with Head Coach Julio Ribas going into every game with the same high intensity – as shown in the last friendly match against Estonia back in March. As such, we expect few changes if any to recent starting line-ups, although with six subs able to be used instead of three, some of Ribas’ fringe players will be hoping to get important minutes under their belts ahead of trying to push for a more regular spot in the first eleven.

The squad itself is largely similar to the team who faced Switzerland and Denmark last month, with only three changes – Louie Annesley, who misses with a foot injury, as well as Jared Buhagiar and Jason Pusey are not in the squad, with Lee Casciaro, Ethan Santos and Mohamed Badr in – the latter two, including the Egyptian-born Lynx winger Badr who recently became a Gibraltarian after living here for five years, could make their international debuts tonight, while Badr’s Lynx team-mate Brad Power will also be hoping to earn a maiden cap at some point this evening.

Betting:

Kosovo are 1/12 favourites to win the friendly tonight, with a draw being 13/1 and a Gib win as high as 45/1. Gib will be hoping to attack their opponents tonight and try to get on the scoresheet, and BTTS is currently 11/8 best price. The handicap line is currently set at 3, although if you place your bets smartly you can even get Gibraltar +4 at 4/5 – Gib have only lost two away games in the last two years by 4 or more goals.

FG’s Predicted XI:

Coleing; Sergeant, J. Chipolina, R. Chipolina, Olivero; Mouelhi; Pishu, Hernandez, Walker, Badr; De Barr

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Gib Squad announced for upcoming internationals

Gibraltar manager Julio Ribas has announced his squad for the upcoming friendly against Kosovo, and the qualifier against Georgia later this month.

There are three changes from the squad that faced Denmark and Switzerland – Europa’s Jason Pusey, and Brunos Magpies Jared Buhagiar have been dropped from the squad, replaced by Mons Calpe’s Ethan Santos, and Lynx’s Mohamed Badr – the Egyptian born midfielder recently became a Gibraltarian citizen after spending five years playing and living here. Louie Annesley also misses out from the squad due to injury – Lee Casciaro of Lincoln Red Imps is also in the squad after recovering from injury.

The team are expected to travel to Kosovo this weekend, playing the friendly on Thursday night against a side who scored twice vs England in their last match, before hosting Georgia in their sixth of eight Euro Qualifiers this year.