Gibraltar’s international football matches will soon be held on the British territory’s home soil following a deal that will see the 2,500-capacity Victoria Stadium upgraded.
Since its admission into Uefa in 2014, the Gibraltar national team has played its home fixtures in Faro, Portugal due to a lack of suitable facilities.
The Gibraltar Football Association (GFA) and the local government have agreed to upgrade the stadium to an 8,000-seat ground using Uefa and Fifa infrastructure funding. This means there will be no tax or cost to the people of Gibraltar.
A total of £32m (€38.3m/$41m) will be invested by the GFA into Victoria Stadium, with just over half of that as the initial buying cost to the Gibraltar government. Around £16m will be invested in upgrading the facility to meet Uefa standards, as it was previously ruled out of contention for failing to meet the governing body’s criteria for international matches. A bid to build a brand new stadium at another location was met by public resistance.
“Football will finally come home,” said Dennis Beiso, GFA general secretary. “There will be no repeats of the current situation where our clubs and our national teams are not allowed to play at their home stadium because the facilities do not meet standards.”
The GFA said Gibraltar would be able to play all its Uefa and Fifa games on its home territory from 2018.