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GFA defends its decision

‘PLAYING BY THE RULES’The Gibraltar Football Association has issued a Press release regarding the current dispute in which twenty- one registered Clubs are refusing to complete fixtures – until their demand for an EGM is met.

From the Release - ‘As reported in the media, seven clubs have refused to play any official scheduled matches since 15th. November 2008. The reason given for such action, entered into without any discussion with the GFA Council, is supposedly against a Rule in the GFA statutes which has existed since 1932 which requires players selected for Gibraltar to play/ train in an international competition for which they have been selected. The GFA adds, it takes many months preparation and hard work and thousands of pounds to organise and attend international competitions such as that recently attended in Jersey. The GFA cannot leave itself exposed to players suddenly, and for no good reason, to decide not to represent Gibraltar. Unfortunately, in Gibraltar, the pool of players who are good enough to represent Gibraltar at international level is restricted and, consequently, if players are allowed to drop out from an international match/ competition without good reason the squad will be considerably depleted.

This is not good for the image which the GFA is endeavouring to portray abroad.
Whilst it is difficult to understand why there are persons and clubs who fail to support and, indeed, seek to undermine the Association’s efforts to require from persons selected to represent Gibraltar a serious commitment and discipline necessary to proudly wear and do justice to the national shirt, the fact is that is the reality of the situation. Disciplinary proceedings were commenced against more than the five suspended players in question. All players were given the opportunity to put in writing their reasons for not accepting to train and/ or play for Gibraltar. The majority, but not all, availed themselves of this opportunity. The five players suspended were found by the Council not to have good and sufficient cause for their respective decisions not to train/play for the selection. The others did and no action was taken against them.The Council finds it difficult to understand the rationale for the Clubs deciding to boycott matches simply because they do not now, suddenly, like a rule which they voted to accept as recently as January 2007. Moreover, even if they did not like the rule and wished to change it, why is it necessary boycott matches pending the holding of any EGM? There are mechanisms in place for the Clubs to have requested an EGM or to have otherwise aired their grievances without the need to deprive their own players of playing matches.

The Clubs in compliance with the GFA Rules finally asked for an EGM as provided for under the said Rules on Friday 21st. November 2008 – a full six days after beginning their boycott of matches. The request received complies with the Rules of the GFA, notwithstanding that two of the persons who signed the request were not authorised to sign on behalf of their clubs – and that certain clubs have reportedly claimed that what was handed into the GFA last Friday was not what they had all agreed to. The GFA will, in due course, be calling an EGM.Due to the steps that need to be taken to organise such an event, and due to the commitments of Council members – who give up their free time, such a meeting will be held some weeks away.

In the meantime, the Council has warned clubs of the consequences of breaching the GFA’s rules on non-appearance at scheduled fixtures. Any breach of said Rules will be actioned, implementing the usual disciplinary procedure. The Council, 25. 11.08.Speaking to the Chronicle, in answer to the question ‘The Way Ahead ? ’, GFA President Mr. Nuñez said -“ The GFA would adhere to the Rules of the Association and enforce them’.“It was up to the Clubs to consider their ‘duty and obligations’ to, and the best interests of, their members and let them play.“ If the Clubs continued to fail to fulfil fixtures, this would invoke further disciplinary action, covered by the Rules, and affect their rights to participate in any future EGM.”

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