Following a major investigation being conducted by the Gibraltar Football Association (GFA) Integrity Unity into suspected breaches of the betting rules, a total of eight players are now known to have been suspended from all football-related activity pending disciplinary hearings.
A further 27 players are expected to be interviewed and could face disciplinary action, bringing the total of players under investigation to 35.
Against the backdrop of the investigation, the General Secretary of the Gibraltar Football Association, Dennis Beiso, issued a stark warning to players who might have considered breaching the association’s betting rule.
“If you bet illegally on our matches, if you breach GFA regulations on betting, which are a blanket ban [on bets] on all football, you will suffer the consequences,” Mr Beiso warned in comments made to The Red and White supplement, which is free in today’s issue of the Gibraltar Chronicle.
The Gibraltar FA chief would not be drawn on the ongoing probe but said the association was implementing a “zero tolerance” approach to such breaches and was acting to “clean the game up.”
Mr Beiso described betting breaches as a “a cancer in our game” but also urged caution, stressing the need to allow officials to conclude the investigations and disciplinary process.
“There are different levels of transgression, for want of a better description, and we expect that the disciplinary process will take that into account,” he said.
“You may find that not all the players are tarred with the same brush, but that is normal and natural in any disciplinary process.”
“I am very insistent to say that this is a very serious process and those who have committed the most serious offences will incur the most serious penalties.”
The GFA official also highlighted that there was co-operation and support from local league clubs.
“The clubs are aware that what we are doing is cleaning the game,” he said.
“What we are effectively doing is helping them to clear out the rubbish, so to speak, and they appreciate the work that is being done by the GFA’s Integrity Unit and co-operating fully with it.”
The Gibraltar Football Association is understood to be looking in numerous matches across the past seasons since entering UEFA in which irregularities have been detected.
The probe has been described by GFA officials as “methodical” and is likely to continue well into the season.
The investigation has seen the co-operation of the Gambling Commissioner and is supported by local league clubs as the GFA continues to gather evidence and interview players and officials.
FULL COVERAGE IN TODAY’S PRINT AND E-EDITIONS