The Gibraltar Football Association is expected to start the final disciplinary hearings within the next few days amid an ongoing investigation into alleged breaches of betting rules.
This comes after the final disciplinary interviews where concluded last week, the Chronicle understands.
The GFA Integrity Programme Unit has been involved in a major investigation which has already seen a number of players and coaches banned from taking part in any football related activities whilst the disciplinary process is underway.
The investigation centres on alleged breaches of betting rules governing the association.
A total of eight players and three coaches are understood to have been banned. The investigation itself is said to have centred around some 35 players and coaches with informed sources in recent weeks indicating that the numbers could reach 42.
The GFA is understood to have been preparing for the final phase with an independent disciplinary panel being put together, a task officials have indicated has not been an easy one due to the extent of the investigation and the time it could take.
The final process of the investigation, the disciplinary hearing itself which will decide on the evidence presented and allow for those brought before the panel to present their defence is expected to start this week.
The panel will decide on any possible sanctions if persons are found to have been in breach of the betting rules.
Informed sources close to the GFA have also indicated that the process would have included, by its very nature, informing the Royal Gibraltar Police of the ongoing investigation so that any possible suspicion of “criminality” would be acted upon by the authorities.
The RGP’s involvement, experts indicate, “would only come about if there was any indication of fraudulent activity, or the possibility of a network operating in which match fixing was suspected of having taken place.”
Among one of the key areas being focused on during the investigation has been the impact of the suspected breaches of GFA rules upon Gibraltar’s already well established reputation.
One source stating “Gibraltar’s PLC has been at the centre of the focus of the investigation” explaining that investigators were aware of the impact not acting upon the suspicions would not just have an effect locally but at an international level on the reputation of Gibraltar’s PLC. The GFA has already stated publicly in recent weeks that they will stamp down on any breaches of betting rules warning that “getting involved in any such acting will have severe consequences.”