The Gibraltar Football Association does not expect UEFA or FIFA money will be needed to finance the planned redevelopment of the Victoria Stadium complex.
The GFA’s General Secretary, Ivan Robba, told GBC he believes selling or letting its commercial and residential areas should generate enough money to pay for the Savings Bank loan plus profits.
He said the UEFA first vice-president, Karl-Erik Nilsson, had given Gibraltar an ultimatum in February, when he met with Government minister Sir Joe Bossano: “Either you build something or you’ll not play in GIbraltar ever again”.
Mr Robba thought this would be a big shame after fighting to enter UEFA for 15 years and FIFA for six. He said both football’s governing bodies have always been extremely supportive, but it was never the case that they were going to fully fund a new stadium here. He said this would cost no less than £40 million, making the project not feasible before the involvement of the Government.
In response to GBC questions, the GFA General Secretary said a capacity of 8,000 is being pursued because: it should make the new stadium future-proof; there’s no difference in the size of footprint required; the increase in construction costs is not too significant, and; because Gibraltar needs to maximise the economic benefits when it plays a big team, with many thousands of travelling fans.
Mr Robba said they had been losing credibility with UEFA and FIFA – who had been asking: when are you going to do it? Now there’s a timeline and a concrete plan in place, “they are even more supportive”.
He said there is infrastructure funding from the international football bodies every four years, which could be used to maintain the new complex, or to develop other infrastructure around Gibraltar.