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UEFA and FIFA assist GFA in reform process

The Gibraltar Football Association has, with the assistance of both FIFA and UEFA, carried out a reforms process signalling the introduction of a number of key changes.

In a statement the GFA explained that the extensive internal statutory reform was carried out over the past two months.

Among the key changes brought in by the new Statutes is the creation of a Governance & Strategy Board (GSB) which will oversee the day-to-day work carried out by the GFA’s Board of Directors.

The reforms not only bring the GFA fully into line with FIFA requirements on the statutory organization of Member Associations, but also mark the first time FIFA and UEFA have co-operated successfully to advise and guide an MA on statute changes.

Such has been the success of this joint FIFA/UEFA/GFA initiative, that the new GFA Statutes will be used as a template for Associations around the world to follow, the GFA said.

The statutory changes were approved unanimously at a General Assembly of the GFA held on July 6 and a copy of the new Statutes can now be downloaded from the GFA’s website.

In respect of the GSB, the GFA said this will be composed of the GFA President, Vice President, and three independent persons who are experts in the fields of law, finance and regulation.

At an Extraordinary General Assembly which took place on September 8, Gillian Guzman, Frank Carreras and Jonathan Caetano received the unanimous support of the General Assembly as the three independent members of the GSB.

In addition to the GSB, the new Statutes also provide for the creation of an Audit & Compliance Committee that will provide a “further level of independent scrutiny on the activities of the GFA”.

The Committee will be composed of three persons outside the GFA and their identities will be announced shortly.

Three external observers attended the Extraordinary General Assembly – Michael van Praag, President of the Royal Netherlands Football Association and Member of the UEFA Executive Committee, Thierry Favre, Head of National Associations Development at UEFA, and Jorge Mowinckel, Member Associations Manager at FIFA.

Commenting on the statute reforms, FIFA’s Jorge Mowinckel said: “We are delighted that the statutes revision process of the GFA concluded successfully with the election of the new Governance & Strategy Board of the GFA.”

“We would like to congratulate the GFA for leading the reforms process and its members for their contribution and support.”

At the Extraordinary General Assembly of the 8th September, the posts of President and Vice President were put up for re-election.

Michael Llamas was unanimously re-elected as President for a four-year term, whist Ian Torrilla was elected as Vice President for four years.

Following the meeting, the Presidents of both FIFA and UEFA immediately contacted Mr Llamas to congratulate him on his re-election as President of the GFA.

Commenting on the elections, Michael van Praag stated that, largely due to the way Mr Llamas had represented Gibraltar in his previous term as President, Gibraltar is not only simply accepted as member of UEFA and FIFA, but has become a very well-respected member too.

He further added that the appointment of Mr Llamas as member of the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee proved this very clearly.

He therefore applauded his re-election as President of the GFA.

At the Extraordinary General Assembly, Mr Favre announced that broad agreement had been reached between UEFA and the GFA on the financing of the purchase of the Victoria Stadium from the Gibraltar Government.

Pending the signing of a Development License on the property, UEFA have approved the release of the first portion of the funds - €6.5 million - to the GFA.

The contract between UEFA and the GFA formalizing the release of funds was then formally signed by the GFA President, GFA General Secretary and UEFA officials.

In his additional capacity as Chairman of the UEFA Stadium & Security Committee, Mr van Praag acknowledged the importance for Gibraltar of having a new national stadium, and thus welcomed not only the plans, but also the decision of the UEFA HatTrick Committee to agree on issuing these funds.

Mr Favre added that: “On July 24th, the UEFA HatTrick Bureau took a very important decision in approving to set aside EUR 6.5 million from the HatTrick III & IV cycles in order to give substantial financial support to the purchase and upgrade of the Victoria Stadium.”

“We will stay in close contact with GFA as further support is required. We can fully understand their dedication to have this project achieved, which will allow them to finally host major international matches within their territory.”

A few weeks prior to the General Assembly, a delegation from the GFA, including the President, General Secretary, Deputy General Secretary and Finance Director, attended a series of meetings at UEFA HQ in Nyon, Switzerland to discuss the financing for the purchase and re-construction of the Victoria Stadium.

In parallel to those meetings, the GFA President and GFA General Secretary were invited to a private lunch by the UEFA President, Aleksander Ceferin.

According to the GFA number of topics were discussed at the lunch, including the Victoria Stadium and the hosting of international matches in Gibraltar as from 2018.

Mr Ceferin subsequently wrote to Mr Llamas to applaud the GFA on the dedication and commitment the Association had shown to the development of the game in Gibraltar.

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