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Football: Should Gibraltar establish a Premier League?

Article by Emilio Peire. - In football discussions with lovers of the game, it has always been my avowed position that the overall standard of first division football in Gibraltar, particularly in the finer points of teamwork, tactics and strategy, could not develop fully until such time as the number of teams competing at top level was reduced to a maximum of four. It has always been the selfishness of individual clubs with their majority of votes that have stood in the way of a move in this direction. The Gibraltar Football Association should promote membership of the Association from the general public, which in my opinion has not been previously encouraged because of the self-preservation instincts of past executives committees members.

Over the last few years efforts to improve the technical ability of our players has been on the increase. This good work, by the G.F.A. and others, is very evident at any game, at any level, at the Victoria Stadium. The fact that some players have been tested by British League clubs bears witness to this fact. Looking at the leagues situation at the present time, it is very obvious that the Gibraltar Football Association will never find a better time in which to consolidate on this improvement by starting a campaign to reduce the number of First Division sides and create a Premier league of four teams for next year. St. Joseph’s F.C. has a monumental task in their search for league points. The First Division should, also, not have more than four teams. The number of teams playing in the lower leagues would not be of material importance.

There can be little doubt that the local game of football would be the great beneficiary if a Premier League was created comprising four adequately sponsored top clubs, supported by a First Division of four other teams. The concentration of the best players in fewer teams would have an overall beneficial effect on the game, the players, the managers, and the public but most of all in creating better players for selection to G.F.A. teams.. It could in due course bring back the crowds to the Victoria Stadium on Premiership football nights. A good attendance could provide the G.F.A with the possibility of re-introducing an entrance fee, which should go to the benefit of the Premier league players, when representing Gibraltar.

Consideration should be given for promotion to the Premier League to be open to the first two teams in the First Division, which together with the last team in the Premier, would play in a triangular tournament. Promotions from the other leagues need not be changed.

The local media and others concerned with sport in Gibraltar, would do well by promoting and supporting these ideas, now, for the good of football since others are now competing for our best players. A good progress in our top sides followed by inevitable improvement in the Gibraltar Selection and good crowds at the Stadium, might perhaps, enable us to dream of supporting a professional side at some future date.

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