Investigation launched following football match incident
An investigation is underway following an altercation at a football match over the weekend.
The incident, which occurred during a Gibraltar Premier League fixture between Europa FC and Lincoln Red Imps on Saturday evening, is said to have involved abuse toward match officials, disorderly conduct and unruly behaviour by a small section of Europa FC fans.
The Royal Gibraltar Police is not investigating the incident as no complaint was received, but the Gibraltar FA, Europa FC and Gibraltar Sports and Leisure Authority have launched their own internal investigations.
In a statement, the Gibraltar FA said it would not tolerate incidents of this nature.
“The Gibraltar FA is taking this matter very seriously,” said GFA Communications Manager Steven Gonzalez.
“We operate on the principle that the essence of football is to promote enjoyment, fairness and above all, unite the community with our common love for the beautiful game.”
“As such, we strongly condemn violent and aggressive behaviour of any kind, and will not tolerate such behaviour in any capacity whatsoever.”
Luis Wink, GFA Senior Integrity Officer, and his disciplinary team will carry out the investigation that could include video and photographic evidence.
“We hope to have some sort of conclusion by the end of the week,” Mr Gonzalez said.
“But it is difficult to determine as we must consider the amount of detail and evidence available for the investigation.”
Staff from the Gibraltar Sports and Leisure Authority were also said to have also tried to defuse the situation and the authority is also reviewing the incident.
“The incident is under investigation and there will be no comment for the moment,” said Regan Lima, GSLA CEO.
“There may not be a comment forthcoming if it is considered internal.”
Mr Lima said that the GSLA had nine staff members working onsite during the Saturday evening shift, four indoor and five outdoor.
“We are gathering information on the incident,” he said. “Part of the staff’s responsibility is to support the officials and the Gibraltar FA like any other sporting association.”
In a statement Europa FC said it was committed to assisting the GFA in its investigation but that it was not appropriate to comment further at this time.
But it added: “The club shares the same principles as the GFA on the matter. Abuse on match officials, disorderly conduct or unruly behaviour has no place in football.”
“Our club is committed to support the Gibraltar Football Association in any security measures which they may implement.” “Unfortunately the club has no say over the security arrangements at the stadium, and all that can be done is to encourage the fans and supporters of the Club to behave in a manner in-keeping with the rules and regulations of the Victoria stadium.”
“We are aware that there are certain measures that can be taken for example not allowing the spectators to exit the stadium via the changing rooms, where inevitably the spectators meet the officials and players on exit.”
Police Superintendent Cathal Yeats said that the Royal Gibraltar Police are happy to work with the Gibraltar FA and Gibraltar Football League Association on policing security at football matches.
“We are looking to establish a memorandum of understanding with them,” he said. “At the moment there are two officers who are posted outside 15 minutes before and after selected fixtures to ease the flow of supporters entering and exiting the stadium, but nothing more.”
Steven Head, Lincoln Red Imps Board Director said that his club was not accusing anyone, but what happened on Saturday had nothing to do with their fans.
“Since the works have been taking place our supporters have viewed matches from the Cepsa end in order to have a better view,” he said.
“Lincoln Red Imps does not condone this sort of behaviour from our fans. We tell our supporters to follow the rules on match day and if this sort of act was committed by one of ours, then we would deal with it in-house and consider the feedback from the Gibraltar FA and relevant authorities.”