Gibraltar’s top football clubs raking in over a million Euros annually in UEFA prize money received tens of thousands of pounds last year in government Covid-19 crisis funds.
An investigation into the secret finances surrounding the freshest capitalistic monopoly to infiltrate the Rock reveals shocking exploitation of public money behind closed doors. Audited accounts of two wealthy local clubs published online due to UEFA’s rules on transparency show that the Gibraltar Government provided financial aid to them in 2020.

According to the financial statements provided, one club was awarded £26,334 in a Government Covid grant, while the other chose not to mention the grant specifically in its revenue figures but made reference to it. The government grant related to COVID-19 had been ‘accounted for on a cash basis’, which perhaps is represented in the audit’s revenue section as ‘GFA Pillars’ where it received £16,550 in 2020 and £60,351 in 2019.
“Even with the local lockdown affecting income for the year to an extent, the Company has still managed to make a considerable profit with the help of the government supplementing a proportion of employee salaries through the local furlough system,” one of the club’s independent auditor remarked in the club’s 2020 mandatory financial report.
In the notes mentioned by directors, the club blames Covid for not winning the league title and bemoans spending heavily on legal fees. The financial statement shows that the club spent a total of £78,000 on legal fees for its claim regarding losses from not competing in European competition that year when they looked likely to become champions. The club did take time, however, to thank the Gibraltar Government for its support during the pandemic that allowed the club to keep afloat during these difficult times (for some at least).
“Our main problem with the pandemic was not been awarded the league title which we legally disputed due to the 82% probability that we were to win the league,” the notes from a member of a board described. “Even though UEFA provided funding for us to be able to compete in Champions League we still took a heavy hit financially in terms of paying legal fees. It affected us by not being able to play matches and reaching these European qualifying games with friendlies under our belt. Apart from that, the government scheme helped us a Lot on cash flow and we have managed to continue to strive for another successful year.”
As many as 100 of Europe’s pandemic-hit football clubs dipped into UEFA’s multi-billion-euro loan fund and every Gibraltarian team lined up to take a slice. However, UEFA’s European Club Association funding was unevenly divided, heavily favouring clubs currently monopolising their respective divisions with a gulf in finances between them and the rest.
Gibraltar is no different in this aspect. It came in response to European clubs having lost an estimated nine billion euros in revenue as a consequence of stadium shutdowns and shortened seasons during the pandemic.
Gibraltarian football teams inevitably escaped the worst of this because their revenue never depended on gate receipts in the first place, but why would they turn down a free cheque? And a hefty one at that, one of the clubs received £441,251 last year from ECA funding, while the other’s audits combine it with the prize money it received, which totals at a staggering £886,152. It is interesting to note that there are numerous discrepancies and different descriptions for certain income described by both clubs and many others, despite using the same local auditor.
One of the club’s revenue in 2019 was over a million pounds, while the other earned around the same last year (somehow at a loss of £210,601 and £44,716 respectively). They overspend hundreds of thousands of pounds yearly on wages for mostly foreign players, yet the government still stepped in to provide financial support for this failed football experiment. Despite receiving over half a million pounds in Covid relief funds from UEFA, these club directors successfully convinced the Gibraltar Government to provide them with handouts when it is apparently in a financial crisis.
Why the GSLP allowed this to take place beggars belief and perhaps the clubs should give this money back to the community just as Premier League clubs backtracked when claiming UK government funds for furloughed staff.