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Changes to Domestic Football - to be implemented in season 2018/19

Over the past year, the Gibraltar FA has been conducting a detailed review of current domestic competitions and consulting the respective stakeholders on prospective changes which would serve to benefit the development of Gibraltar Football in the coming years. Having completed this process, the GFA is pleased to announce the following several major changes which will be implemented with immediate effect as from season 2018/2019.

 

Home Grown Player Rule

Up to now, the Home Grown Player (“HGP”) rule in Gibraltar required all clubs to have 1 HGP on the field of play at all times, and a minimum of 2 HGPs present on the substitutes bench.

In its review, the GFA conducted a statistical analysis of the rule in each Division, over the course of the two seasons that has been in force.

The results noted some very concerning figures, particularly in the First Division, such as the average percentage of HGPs starting each game throughout the season standing at 19%.

Additionally, it became evident that rather than playing more than one HGP at the same time, it was common practice for Clubs to replace the on field HGP with an HGP on the substitute bench, keeping the number of HGPs on the field at the bare minimum for each match. The percentage of HGPs therefore coming on from the substitute bench in the First Division stood at 30%.

Alarmingly, the percentage of HGPs sitting on the substitute’s bench and not playing at all in the First Division stood much higher at 42%.

The Second Division presented an average of 35% of HGPs starting each round throughout the season, 44% coming on from the substitutes bench and 55% not playing at all.

As a result of these figures, the Gibraltar Football Association engaged its Member Clubs and other relevant stakeholders to bring about urgent changes to tackle this alarming trend.

After much consultation, the GFA  can today announce that, as from the start of next season, (August 2018), each of Gibraltar’s clubs, competing in domestic tournaments at senior level, will have to ensure that a minimum of 3 Home Grown Players, (HGPs), are on the field of play at all times. (The definition of a HGP is a player eligible to play for the Gibraltar National Team as per article 6.1 of the FIFA Regulations Governing the Implementation of the Statutes).

In the event that during any fixture, a team has used up all its substitutions and a HGP is either injured or sent off, the affected team will be allowed to continue the particular fixture (in breach of the HGP Rule) without repercussions.

The GFA will also carry out a review of this new HGP rule throughout the season.

There will be no change to the current league structure and each Club can now only register a maximum of 25 players in its squad for the 1st & 2nd Divisions.

 

Creation of Intermediate League

In addition to the HGP Rule changes, we can today also announce the creation of an Intermediate League,, replacing the Reserves League and the U18 Youth League with immediate effect. The principles of the Intermediate League is as follows:

  • Each participating team may register a maximum of 18 players, 13 HGP’s and 5 Non HGPs.
  • Only 5 players over the age of 23 can be registered in the Intermediate League

 

Players born between 1995 & 2002 (Under 23)

Home Grown Players

NON Home Grown Players

A minimum of 13 must be registered

A maximum of 5 can be registered

A minimum of 8 must be on the field of play at all times

A maximum of 3 can be on the field of play at all times

HGP’s registered in the Intermediate League can play an unlimited number of matches in the 1st or 2nd Divisions

Non HGPS registered in the intermediate league can only feature in a maximum of 3 matches in either the 1st and 2nd Divisions.

 

Players born before 1995(Over 23 years of age)

A maximum of 5 can be registered per team

A maximum of 3 can be on the field of play at any time

Players over the age of 23, registered in the intermediate league can playa maximum of 3 matches in the 1st & Second Divisions

 

  • Players registered in a clubs ‘first team’ (ie 1st or second division team) can play a maximum of 3 during the course of the season, in the Intermediate League (subject to the HGP & Age conditions set out above)
  • HGPs registered in the U16 Youth League and are already 16 years of age can be registered to play an unlimited amount of games in the Intermediate League subject to the GFA receiving the relevant written permission from parents/guardians.
  • Disciplinary sanctions (yellow cards/red cards/suspensions) must be served in the league where the offence is committed. This will be confirmed prior to the season once finals numbers of participating teams are confirmed.
  • No player loans are permitted in the Intermediate League
  • All transfers in the Intermediate League will follow the GFA’s standard Senior Club model
  • An Intermediate League trophy will be presented to the winners at the end of the season
  • A separate knock out cup competition will be introduced for the Intermediate League (open draw basis once competing teams are confirmed).

 

2nd Division Cup

The Second Division Cup will also be reintroduced for one season in 2018/19. The tournaments format will be two groups of 4 to be determined by a draw. All teams will play each other twice within their groups (65matches per team). The top two teams in each group will advance to the semi-finals and then a final.

 

Pepe Reyes Memorial Cup

As from 2018/19 there will be no extra time in the Pepe Reyes Memorial Cup. If the match should end in a draw after 90 minutes the winner will be decided by a penalty shootout. The cup shall be played between the league champions and the Gibteleocm Rock Cup Winners. If the league champions are also the Gibtelecom Rock Cup Winners, the League runners up will contest the Pepe Reyes Memorial Cup.

 

Some Key Dates to note ahead of the 2018/19 Domestic Football Season:

11th June 2018 – Summer transfer window opens

29th June 2018 – Deadline for Team Registrations (men, women & youth teams)

12th August 2018 – Pepe Reyes Memorial Cup Lincoln Red Imps FC v Europa FC

13th August 2018 – Start of 2nd Division & Intermediate League

17th August 2018 – Start of 1st Division

31st August 2018 – Summer transfer window closes – deadline for player registrations (men’s senior football, men’s intermediate league & women).  

 

Team and player registrations for Futsal will be announced shortly in a separate communication

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