The Gibraltar Football Association has confirmed that the first FIFA European qualifier home match for Gibraltar against Greece will be played in Faro, Portugal as advertised in the UEFA official website pages.
Speaking to the Chronicle Steven Gonzalez spokesperson for the Gibraltar FA confirmed yesterday that the decision to play in Portugal is due solely to the fact that the match coincides with the week in which the Gibraltar Music Festival will take place. With the match scheduled to be played on the 6th September, and the GMF scheduled for the 3rd and 4th September, just two days earlier, it is “impossible to set up in time for the match to be played at the stadium” commented Mr Gonzalez.
The Gibraltar FA were aware of the situation and have been seeking to change the tie to an away tie. However, this has not been possible, with confirmation received in recent days that Gibraltar would be hosting the first match as Greece could not accommodate the request. Gibraltar’s final group match is an away match against Greece.
Asked whether the decision to play in Portugal had any link to a recent UEFA assessment on whether Gibraltar could play its home matches at the Victoria Stadium, Mr Gonzalez indicated that this had no bearing on the assessment.
The Gibraltar versus Greece match is the only home match from the qualifying group matches to be played by Gibraltar in which a venue has been allocated whilst a decision is awaited on the assessment of the stadium to host future qualifying group matches.
Gibraltar will also play on the 1st September against European Champions Portugal in Porto. The match will be Portugal’s first match since winning the Euros this summer.