Tuesday, October 11, 2005

GFA complain of unsuitable facilities for football

The Gibraltar Football Association (GFA) has called on the local government to provide the necessary facilities for football in Gibraltar to continue its development.

In a statement they also criticised the insufficient allocations available and the inadequate pitches that exist for the sport on the Rock.

A GFA spokesman said the situation can only be remedied by providing not only the nine-a-side pitch with a new synthetic surface but also with “at very least,” two new pitches with dimensions suitable for Junior Football and a training pitch for Senior Football.

A GFA Council spokesman said:

“The GFA notes the article that appeared in the Chronicle (6th October 2005) concerning the inability of the Gibraltar Gaming Football League to obtain fixture allocations at the Victoria Stadium with some sympathy. Such sympathy is however, tempered by the following considerations.

The GGFL is not affiliated to and/or recognised by the GFA, which is the governing body of the sport in Gibraltar. As such this so-called “amateur league” cannot expect, no matter how much fund raising they have carried out, to take from local governing associations of sport, scarce allocations, which are required by them.

As by far the largest sporting association in Gibraltar the GFA, with 27 Senior teams and 53 Junior teams registered to play this season, has to make do with the main Stadium pitch and a nine-a-side pitch whose surface dates back over 12 years, and which the Association believes unsafe enough as to warrant advising its members not to use it. Even taking into account the unsafe nine-a-side pitch, proportionally the GFA has the least facilities available to it than any other sport in Gibraltar notwithstanding that the number of its members far surpasses those of any other association.

The GFA under 7 league has not yet, and it is not known when it will, be able to commence because of the unsafe nature of the No.2 pitch and because as yet the Gibraltar Sports Authority has not confirmed it has made available alternative allocations at Westside School.

The GFA at this point in time needs 38 fixture allocations a week just to run its various league competitions. It barely has enough allocations to fit this in this means that there are insufficient allocations left to adequately provide for a structured training development programme for all the Junior national squads and/or a ladies football development programme and/or to allocate to clubs so that their players can train on a proper surface.

Apart from the obvious detriment to the progression of the sport which such a situation engenders, it should also be noted that it forces clubs to have their Junior/Senior players running around our streets exposed to the dangers of traffic and fumes and/or playing on unsuitable scraps of waste ground leaving players prone to injuries and/or not training at all and/or going over to Spain to train.

Until this is done, the GFA and/or its clubs cannot be expected to develop further a sport which over the last few years has seen dramatic improvements being made in national squad level and in junior football.

The GFA therefore pleads that from a health, sporting and community point of view, consideration be given to providing our youngsters of today, who will be the adults of tomorrow, with adequate facilities.”

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