GFLA warns that more clubs could be lost if prizeshare not agreed
Following confirmation last week by Europa FC President Peter Cabezutto that his club was not signing the present prizeshare agreement tabled by the GFLA and already signed by the ten remaining clubs in the league the Gibraltar Football League Association (GFLA) have responded publicly to his comments made during an interview with the Chronicle last week.
Following a standstill in negotiations the GFLA issued a statement today warning that further clubs could be lost in the league if an agreement is not reached and the league was not made more sustainable through it.
In their statement they said:-
“Since Gibraltar's admission into UEFA in May 2013 there have been repeated calls from past and current local stakeholders of the game, for the concept of prize sharing to be discussed and agree between all local domestic football clubs. These calls come from those, the majority of whom, have been in Gibraltar's local football scene long before finances were brought into the game.”
“Over the course of the year the Gibraltar Football League Association membership have held weeky meetings in respect of all areas concerning domestic football. A united front from all involved is essential for the league to not only to grow but more importantly, to ensure the sustainability of clubs for many years to come. By unanimously agreeing to a model which allows for a fair distribution of prize monies, it would assist clubs who do not have significant financial backing to sustain themselves for much longer and in turn, seeks to ensure long term participation of member clubs in UEFA competitions.”
“Those who are well acquainted with Gibraltar football will recognize and know, how detrimental the influx of money into the game has been, which has seen many clubs disappear and has left the Gibraltar National League with only eleven clubs.”
“There have been many positives over the past year, however, the issue of prize sharing as it stands, is holding the future of the domestic league on a knives edge and very much in the balance.”
“On the 9th of June, for the first time in our history, an agreement was reached by the then twelve member clubs to be able to enter into negotiations of prize sharing.”
“It was acknowledged and agreed by all member cubs that the prize monies distributed by UEFA to the league champions could be equally distributed amongst the clubs not participating in European competitions for the season 2020/2021, subject to negotiations with the Gibraltar Football Association.”
“Put into context, the payments by UEFA apply a, League Winners prize to all league winning clubs if they are knocked out prior to reaching the group stages. The removal of this prize is justified because of the benefits attained by reaching the group stages. Therefore, this would mean that the league winners would still be held to pay into the fund, but will in any case not be out of pocket as they would only be required to pay the equivalent of the league winner's prize. The significance of this is highlighted by the fact that the bottom placed team would receive a minimum which ensures long term sustainability.”
“Negotiations as such with the GFA have successful and a Fund Sharing Agreement has been drafted. However, in order for the agreement to be finalized, a unanimous agreement is again required by all clubs. The FSA would, as stated previously, allow the monies to be distributed amongst all clubs, the exact values of which would be dependent on the UEFA monies allocated and which can vary.”
“Importantly, the great effort from clubs in producing various formulas to find a workable and fair solutions for all clubs must be noted. A final one has been drafted, but unfortunately, is bein blocked by one club refusing to sign the agreement.”
“If this club maintains its stance it would not be an exaggeration to say that in a not too distant future, we shall see more clubs disappear and with them our National League.”
During the presentation of their press statement, done immediately after their Tuesday evening GFLA meeting where club officials were also present officials highlighted their displeasure at the present situation. Although the animosity that existed towards Europa’s stance was clearly present the GFLA Chairman John Cruz highlighted that “although talks were at a standstill at present” the prizeshare agreement was not “dead on the table”. Further explaining that he still expected to be able to seat down and discuss further with Europa their present position and find a solution where an agreement could be reached this season.