Gibraltar’s authorities have outlined plans for the jurisdiction’s new national football stadium after playing its final match at Victoria Stadium.
The £100m project will include an 8,000-seat Category 4 football stadium complex, a 92-unit residential project, retail and office units and a business centre. Work will begin in 2023, with Gibraltar to play its Euro 2024 qualifiers in Faro, Portugal, while construction continues.
Designs and financial information have now been released, with Sir Joe Bossano, the Minister for Inward Investment and chairman of the Gibraltar Savings Bank (GSB), saying the project would serve as a “shop window of new Gibraltar, post-Brexit”.
“It’s a very important moment in the history of football in Gibraltar, of the GFA and of our long struggle and success in being accepted and recognised in UEFA, taking our rightful place alongside the European nations as we have done in many other fields,” Bossano said. “It’s a struggle we have supported and has had the support of the whole of Gibraltar.
“Now we’re going take the next most important step for football, something that the GFA and the football community and the players and the fans have wanted for a long time, been promised for a long time and finally I can tell you that it will be a reality.”
Gibraltar Football Association (GFA) has an agreement with Community Supplies & Services Ltd, a company linked to the Chinese state, for the construction and development of the arena.
The development will be part of the National Economic Plan of Gibraltar and funded by the GSB, which has a remit to prioritise projects for the betterment of the British Overseas Territory’s community and prosperity. GSB will provide an investment through the acquisition of loan notes to be issued by the GFA.
The Gibraltarian authorities said the project, which will be located at a site currently occupied by a petrol station on Winston Churchill Avenue, will be subject to the usual planning process. The detailed designs by ALI Design have yet to be published officially by the Development and Planning Commission.
Gibraltar played home games in Faro from 2014 to 2018, but were given dispensation by UEFA to play at the aged Victoria Stadium on the understanding that work on a new venue would commence in 2020. However, plans were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gibraltar beat Andorra 1-0 in the final game at the 5,000-capacity Victoria Stadium, which was opened in 1926.