The government has agreed to sell the Victoria Stadium to the Gibraltar Football Association for £16.5 million, including the old Victoria Sports Hall and the right to redevelop the area of Winston Churchill Avenue and the adjacent petrol station when the latter is relocated after the tunnel under the runway is built. The sale does not include the Tercentenary Hall or the rest of the Bayside Sports Complex.
The government had originally proposed Victoria Stadium as the venue for a UEFA category 4 national football stadium but UEFA objected, so the GFA began to look at different locations to construct a new one. None proved viable, so last month the GFA told the government that UEFA had decided it would agree to the Victoria Stadium being used as long as the GFA acquired it outright.
The money from the sale will be used to completely transform Gibraltar’s sports facilities, but the GFA will continue to allow the stadium to be used for some community events and by schools as long as they do not conflict with its own needs.
The GFA will pay for the stadium in three instalments with funds it will receive exclusively from UEFA and FIFA. In addition, it will invest around £15m in the redevelopment of the Victoria Stadium and the old Sports Hall.
As a result, Gibraltar will benefit from a national football stadium which will be developed at no cost at all to the taxpayer.
Substantial works will be required to the Victoria Stadium, so UEFA Champions and Europa League matches will not be able to take place in Gibraltar this year.
The agreement with the GFA unlocks the potential to develop infrastructure for football and all other sports in Gibraltar to an unprecedented level and represents the largest investment in sport in the history of the Rock.