One of the main consequences of Gibraltar being accepted into UEFA on Friday was that a new stadium at Europa Point, set to hold between 8,000 to 10,000 people, shall be constructed over the next couple of years.
UEFA has a category system in place for football stadia, and their highest category, Category 4, is what the GFA will presumably be aiming to achieve with the new ground at Europa Point. However, what would that stadium need to achieve such a rating?
Firstly, the pitch would have to be 105 metres by 68 metres. That is the same length as major football pitches across Europe, such as Wembley Stadium. Floodlights would have to be at a strength of 1400 lux to ensure the best illumination of the pitch during night time games.
The minimum capacity of such a ground has to be 8,000, whilst terracing is not allowed in any Category 4 stadium. The referee’s dressing room must also be 20 m2
VIP guests will be a notable feature of games for Gibraltar now, and they will also have to be catered for accordingly. At least 150 parking spots should be allocated for VIP’s, whilst a minimum of 500 seats in the ground should be reserved for VIP’s. There must also be 100 seats for visiting nation’s VIP’s to be able to sit in, whilst the hospitality area for VIP’s should be at least 400 m2.
Bigger matches will also encourage a much larger media following, and the new stadium will have to follow a number of regulations to account for this. The media area should hold 75 people, with a space of 200 m2
100 seats should be available in the press box (50 of which also bring desks), whilst a minimum of 25 commentary positions should also be available. Two tv studios must also be available, one of which has to overlook the pitch. These studios would normally be at the same height as some of the corporate boxes at football grounds, in order to give the best view to pundits who have to analyse the games.
A minimum of four post-match interview positions should be allocated within the ground, whilst at least 75 seats should be available in the press conference room. The outside broadcasting area, where TV and Radio stations set up their vans, should also be at least 1,000 m2
The main camera platform should also be able to hold at least four cameras, at a space of 10 m2
There are other specifications required for such a stadia, but from these basic requirements, it is clear to see that any new stadium in Gibraltar will be light years ahead of the current Victoria Stadium, which will still be used for lower level and youth games in Gibraltar. The money UEFA brings will help vastly in the construction of this stadium, and it is safe to say that it is not too long until Gibraltar has a world class stadium to host its national team, as well as club teams in European competitions.