Europa FC question Gibraltar FA decision to declare season null and void
Europa FC have this Friday questioned the `Gibraltar FA’s decision to announce this season’s domestic competitions as null and void. In a comprehensive statement issued by the Europa FC. club Board it questions whether the decision was made following UEFA guidelines on sporting merit as they described their season.
Europa, one of only six teams unbeaten this season across Europe, with four matches left were five points ahead of their closest rivals St Joseph with a better head to head to their closest opponents.
Europa’s board questioned the decision trying to present parallels against some of the top European leagues where the leagues have as yet not been decided.
This week the Gibraltar FA announced its decision to terminate the league based on advise from the Government of Gibraltar, the latter of whom is due to publish a roadmap to release Gibraltar from the lockdown. Contact sport is expected to be among the last sectors which will be released from restrictions. Only this week the Minister for Sport met with GSAC in which the future of sport was discussed with proposals for the future tabled.
The decision to terminate the season was made after the Government of Gibraltar confirmed to the Gibraltar FA that it would not be possible for its domestic season to be completed prior to the 20th July 2020, which is UEFA’s deadline for Gibraltar competitions to be concluded.
In their statement this Friday the Europa FC Board made the following statement:-
Europa FC Club Board Statement
Re: Statement of 07/05/2020 Declaration by Gibraltar FA of Gibraltar National League 19/20 season Null and Void
Firstly we would like to say that Europa FC is fully committed COVID-19 and is fully supportive of the measures to combat it introduced by our government. Our own efforts to help with our most needy and give something back to our key workers over these unprecedented times are well documented. We have also attempted to educate and create awareness of the threat of this virus to our society through our social media platforms. We are well aware of our social responsibility as a sports club in Gibraltar and we believe we have acquitted ourselves well over this crisis period. However Europa FC are surprised to hear of the GFAs decision yesterday to declare the Gibraltar National League null and void at this stage.
With all 54 UEFA domestic leagues in the same predicament, Gibraltar, to the best of our knowledge, is only one of three associations to have declared the season null and void with no champion declared to date. The UEFA Executive Committee gave a deadline of the 25th May 2020 for member associations to communicate decisions on the resolution of domestic competitions. Most leagues have chosen to defer this decision closer to this date to have the most up to date information and either make provision for the restart of their leagues or in some instances have terminated competition but have used other criteria to declare a champion. In the top leagues in Europe we see Germany and Portugal already giving dates to resume competition under special conditions. In the next few days and weeks we will see all UEFA member
nations make decisions on the conclusion of their leagues. It would be concerning to see Gibraltar in the small minority of those who thought it was best to declare competition both null and void and without a champion.
Last month UEFA was asking the Belgian FA recant their decision to declare the Belgian league null and void as they were risking expulsion from European competitions.now it seems they will terminate their league but declare a champion.
This is how quickly things change. This season for us has been record-breaking. We have won sixteen league matches only dropping two points along the way. We sit comfortably at the top of the table. We have scored an incredible 85 goals and enjoy a goal difference of +76, 23 more goals than the next best club. We have the better head to head with both our two league challengers. We regularly make the international sports news for being one of the few clubs still unbeaten in all domestic competition in Europe, a great source of pride for us and Gibraltar. We had made it to the semi finals of the Rock Cup. This was meant to be a vintage year for us. To have this denied with four matches to go by what we believe might be a premature decision is a bitter pill to swallow. We are not a club used to winning everything. This was special. We feel we have not been judged on our sporting merit by the GFA, something which UEFA has as its top priority to enter European competition.
Having said this we also feel for our closest league challengers St. Josephs FC. They have not been afforded the opportunity to try to overturn a six point deficit by sporting merit. We would also like to use this opportunity to thank the players and coaching staff especially our amazing manager Rafa Escobar for their loyalty, patience, understanding and professionalism over this very difficult time. Understandably there are some very disappointed guys in that group, but we are so very proud of their sporting achievement, this is something that cannot be declared null and void. It only leaves us to look forward to the weeks ahead and examine the denouement of
this situation as concerns other UEFA nations.
Please continue to heed government advice on COVID-19 contingencies during this "unlock the rock" period. This is not yet over and the risk is very real. Stay safe everyone.