It was not until the 66th FIFA Congress in Mexico City in 2016 that Gibraltar, a strategically located territory at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula linking the European and African continents, joined the international governing body as a full member. Since then, the quality of the beautiful game has continued to grow in this part of the world, and football development has become one of the Gibraltar Football Association’s (GFA) main priorities.
Gibraltar covers a territory of no more than 6.7km squared. But it aspires to shine in development, demonstrating the extent of its football potential and the aspirations of its 35,000 football-passionate inhabitants.
The GFA, with support provided thanks to a contribution of USD 350,000 FIFA Forward Programme funding, has embarked on its quest to become more professional and to increase the technical performances of all its players by investing heavily in infrastructure. Through this playing surface development project, it was decided to install a top level, high quality, artificial turf pitch inside the only playing facility available in Gibraltar: the 5,000-seat Victoria National Stadium.
Located at the foot of the Rock of Gibraltar and next to the airport in the north district, the facility was first opened in 1926 as a British military sports ground and has since been renovated a few times over the decades. Thanks to the FIFA Forward Programme, and following the GFA’s impulse, all football enthusiasts, both at competitive and amateur levels, from local schools, grassroots, league teams and national teams, are already benefitting from the new training facility on a daily basis.
FIFA and the GFA are also committed to maintaining a proper and regular maintenance programme that will ensure Victoria Stadium remains a high-quality pitch for many years.
In June 2014, Gibraltar recorded their first-ever victory under UEFA with a 1-0 win against Malta, the goal coming from local football star Kyle Casciaro; a moment still fresh in all Gibraltarians’ memories. Gibraltar is definitely writing a new chapter in its development and professionalisation, and thanks to the refreshed Victoria Stadium pitch, the future looks bright for football in the territory.