Tuesday 18 June 2013

Gibraltar feel Spanish wrath after under-20 cancellation

Less than 3 weeks after being voted in as the 54th UEFA member Gibraltar have already clashed with Spain after a scheduled under-20 match against Cuba last weekend was cancelled following pressure from the Spanish government.

Disputed...the VIctoria Stadium
After the GFA initially stated that hiked costs of stadium rent in Marbella were the reason for the cancellation it has emerged in the Spanish press that the government put pressure on the owners to stop the game from happening.

The Cubans, in Europe as they prepare for their maiden under-20 World Cup in Turkey this weekend, were denied visas by the UK government when the idea of playing the game in Gibraltar arose. Both sides were left without a match after the Marbella landlords suddenly raised the price. It's now being suggested by parts of the media in Spain that the Spanish government were the reason behind this.

The debacle raises the question as to what lengths Spain will go to in an attempt to block the GFA’s route into FIFA, which according to their own rules is allowed after 2 years of UEFA membership.

The colony’s only ground is on disputed land and journalist James Montague, who spent time in Gibraltar with the GFA before their UEFA bid, explained that a new stadium will be built before FIFA membership is pursued “I was told that FIFA looked at every reason not to allow Gib in, and that was what they found”.

The under-16 team are currently experiencing less political difficulty in a UEFA tournament in Albania. They lost their opening game 4-0 to Luxembourg.

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