Top three qualify for Europe but no date set for return of football in Gibraltar
A decision by the Gibraltar FA to terminate the 2019/20 league will see the European club competitions places go to Europa FC, St Joseph FC and Lincoln Red Imps.
The league still had four round of matches left to play with both the semi finals and final of the Rock Cup to be played. Although the three teams entering European competitions were all guaranteed to be among the top three with the points difference leaving only Lincoln Red Imps needing to secure three points to mathematically make it impossible for Lynx to beat them to third place, Lincoln were also in contention for the cup.
Challenge Group Mons Calpe, the only semi finalist outside the top three will be missing any chance of attempting to reach European competition football once again. A miserable first part of the season saw them drop into the Challenge Group. The club has also faced problems which has raised concerns over whether they would be guaranteed a Uefa License to play in the competition.
Lincoln Red Imps has the better sporting record of the two clubs this season, while also currently third in the table playing in two fronts to reach European club competition football.
The decision by the Gibraltar FA comes after advise from the government which is setting out new guidelines to relax the current lockdown rules. The first stage continues to place restrictions on sports with only personal trainers working with individuals outdoors due to make a return.
No indication has been given yet as to when further relaxations of the rules will take place. The indications of a seek and destroy policy in relation to tracing the COVID-19 virus is expected to see an aggressive test, isolate and trace policy which many sports have already indicated could see contact sports delayed past the normal starting dates for next season.
The football league, who have have had discussions with the association will be holding further discussions as to how to finalize the league. This will include a decision on whether Europa, five points ahead from their nearest opponent and unbeaten in the league will be crowned or not as champions.
Proposals over prize sharing have also been made by some clubs although these are understood to have been initially rejected by the league leaders. It is expected that the next discussions will see clubs deciding on what the final details to finalise the current domestic league will be and whether the league and cup become null and void or a champions title is awarded. Distribution of prize monies will need to be decided upon if the league were to be finalized as being null and void.
Discussions over a return to football before the start of the 2020/21 season are not expected to be concluded until further details on the government’s release guidelines for sport are published.
It is expected that sports in general will be among the biggest impacted by social distancing rules having been the first for enforcement of restrictions at the early stages of restrictions to protect against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.