Outrage as ‘scandalous’ incident sees Gibraltar kids football team abused at Spanish tournament

LAST UPDATED: 30 Jul, 2011 @ 09:23
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Outrage as ‘scandalous’ incident sees Gibraltar kids football team abused at Spanish tournament

EXCLUSIVE By James Bryce

FOOTBALL chiefs in Gibraltar have lodged a formal complaint with European governing body UEFA over the scandalous treatment of an Under-11 team during a tournament in Spain.

The step taken by the Gibraltar Football Association (GFA) follows claims by the opposition party that it is ‘laughable’ that the Spanish Government has not accepted responsibility.

The Foreign Office had earlier been forced to step into the row which saw the Under-11 Lincoln football team abused and heckled during a tournament in Benidorm.

The incident saw the youth team’s flag seized and them being ushered away from the stage during the opening ceremony.

Steven Head, 44, coach of Lincoln Football Club, based on the Rock, told the Olive Press: “The children felt terrible about it, they were only there to play football, it was very unfair.

“We tried to tell them to turn the disappointment to their advantage and prove to the people involved that they were wrong, but it was very hard,” he continued.

Head, who had been in charge of taking the team on the eight-hour road trip to Benidorm from Gibraltar, added: “There’s no place for that kind of politics at a children’s tournament.”

Added Head: “They were happy to take our money and entrance fee and so to then treat us the way they did was a big disgrace.

“We were all very very disappointed.”

The opposition leader in Gibraltar, Steven Linares described the incident as ‘scandalous’ and demanded an apology.

He said: “The treatment of our young sportsmen is absolutely appalling and there can be no excuse for the pertinent authorities in Spain to have done this to schoolchildren.”

A UK Foreign Office spokesman said: “Obviously we are deeply concerned by the actions of some of the individuals towards children shown in the video footage,” read a statement.

“Gibraltarian teams who are guests in another country should be treated with the same respect shown to other teams, and the Gibraltar flag should be treated with equal respect.”

47 COMMENTS

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  1. Quite disgraceful. Spain comes away looking most xenophobic from this spectacle. Time and time again expats in Spain are told that they they are the xenephobes, and here’s the proof that Spain openly engages in it. Most embarassing for Spain – they need to get this chip off their shoulder, get into the 21st Century, and once and for all and respect self determination.

  2. Ongoing dispute between Gibraltar and Spain? I don’t think so! The statement should have read “Spain continues with her relentless persecution of a small nation of 30000 people and targets a group of 11year old children!
    Fred, Spain does not come away looking most xenophobic from this incident, it shows itself as being just that and a bully and tormentor of young children to boot!
    Language is important and we should use it accurately. Sadly, Spain is nothing but a bully trapped in the 18 century. What surprises me is that Europe with all it’s focus on equality still does nothing to apply it’s rules on non-discrimination to come to the assistance a number of it’s citizens and in particular the group of 11year old children who thought they were in Spain to play footy. Shame on Europe, shame on uefa and shame on the Spanish Courts who all have a duty to ensure that discrimination is not practices, at least openly, in their jurisdictions!

  3. The actions of these BIASED idiots prove to be a disgrace to Spain and the Democracy it asserts. Those involved do NOT deserve to serve as Stweards, Organizers, Council Officers or other political Officials – can them as basura.
    It would uphold the honor of Spain for high level Spanish Officials to denounce these acts & demote those responsible.
    Immediatly is not fast enough!

  4. Re J Molitor
    To do so demotion would be required from the king down!

    We should not forget that this type of behaviour is not just carried out by the perpetrators but also by those who allow these acts to go unpunished. As this was a football tournament UEFA should investigate and take the necessary action at a national level. If nothing else this would show that UEFA has turned over a new leaf and it’s back on discrimination, bullying, the politicisation of the game and perhaps even the alleged corruption (who knows, pigs might fly after all!)

  5. This is totally ridiculous. The Spanish people have been trying to get back part of their country back from the UK and you get upset when they boo the gib flag of the stage.
    What did you expect the spanish people to do..applaud??
    Who invited the Gib team in the first place?

  6. Didn’t see this one before, lately the OP is too much into gib affairs since they openly called for a gibraltarian deep throat in their twitter account.

    Wow, where to begin? So much in those “comments”.

    Gibraltarian children abused in Spain!! Blood in the streets, riots, bring on the navy, summon Cameron and Obama, revenge!!

    You really know how to exploit even the smallest incident to grow victimism until it comes out of your ears. Starting a campaign in several social networks as if it was the end of the world. Anything goes when the Spain bashing machine is triggered on.

    And where has all this amount of false outrage taken you? An article in the OP, the new official Gibraltar voice in Spain! Masks off! The elderly expats and sun seekers are the new “freedom fighters”!

    Anyway, I do regret this all happened, specially because you can’t invite Gibraltar and present it as a nation, specially if there are flags and symbols involved. After all the things we Spaniards have had to swallow from Gibraltar day after day what can we expect from the audience other than dismay to see that Gibraltar has gone away with it and is now treated as an independent country.

    No way, not in Spain, and certainly not in the UN. No matter how you twist the fact Gibraltar is not a country and can’t be treated like one.

    I suggest those kids are invited over next year once again, but they should be provided with the real and representative flag of their status: the Union Jack.

    Although it would be nicer for me to see the old red-yellow-red in place, but a year is a too short timeframe.

    By the way, Tommi and others, I’m not here to please your ears, neither to provide your daily adrenaline dose. One, two comments at the most are enough to make my statement.

  7. Football although it’s “the beautiful game” has never united nations…

    The sheer fact that countries are pitted against each other shows that it’s not designed to be that way.

    However, having said that… Some sports are a wonderful way to bring countries together – take the Olympics for instance. You don’t get the same problems. You’d never see a invasion in the stadium after someone throwing the discus…

    But this is a shameful display of adults setting a despicable example at a children’s game. This is where adults should lead the way and show that it’s a game, not a political contest.

    I feel so sorry for the kids involved.

  8. I’m going to play ‘Devil’s Advocate’ in this situation which should never have occurred in the first place.
    The sponsors of the Gibraltarian team should not have tried to present it as being independent and ‘National’, by asking the children to carry their ‘flag’. That was grossly insensitive, a ‘red flag’ to the bull, but also incorrect as Carlos has pointed out. I’m sure that a British team from Gibralter would have been accepted as such, maybe a few boos, but it would have avoided the embarrasing scenes, of which neither party should be proud.
    The event organisers were also at fault for not ensuring that the public face of any of the teams did not cause offence, i.e. a set of written rules of entry into the competition. There could be any number of such stress areas in Europe which could lead to a similar situation.
    How about forgetting these antagonisms, how would the Brits have behaved if the Spanish Armada had captured the Isle of Wight 400 years ago, leading to a similar situation at a sports meeting?

  9. Antonio2:
    You are trying to excuse the inexcusable!
    You also do not seem to understand what Britishness is.
    It was a British team from Gibraltar that were guests in Spain. If a Scottish team had been in the parade it would have carried the Scottish flag, if it was welsh, the west flag. It was Gibraltarians so the British team from Gibraltar carried the Gibraltarians flag!
    Blow the Spanish Armada, pardon the pun, Spain lost it 423 years ago. It lost Gibraltar 307 years ago and in 2011 it is still losing it and this time taking it out on little boys! When will Spain grow up?

  10. Agreed, Peter, I am indeed trying to excuse the inexcusable, that was the point of my comments, and it applied equally to blunders by both parties.
    Gibraltar never has been and never will be an independent nation and should really not masquerade as such at international sporting events, especially a friendly gathering of competing children in Spain, of all places.
    I am well aware of what Britishness means, but it has altered over the years now that we’ve exchanged gunboats for discussion and understanding.
    Spain needs all the help it can get, is still suffering the after effects of a civil war which tore the country apart. These little incidents just rub salt into her wounds. But at the same time the Spanish should appreciate that many thousands of Brits have died over the last two centuries fighting FOR Spain, most notably to remove Napoleon’s armies, which ransacked Spain. How about we ALL just become European, forget those bits of cloth on sticks??

  11. The long and the short of it is that it was a children’s contest.

    The adults should’ve been the mature ones. It’s ridiculous.

    It doesn’t matter what the flag is all about historically, it’s only a football match. It’s not like the under 11s were armed and attempting to conquer.

    Take the Cornish flag for instance, it’s not recognised officially as any country’s standard but it is still respected for what it is:

    A symbol representing a patch of land.

  12. Antoni2
    What a load of pap!
    Regardless of whether Gibraltar is an independent nation it is a nation nonetheless.
    The Basques are not an independent nation but if they came to my country as guests I would expect them, as well as their flag, to be treated with respect.
    No use harping on about events in history as being an excuse for behaviour today, we all know that Spain has never recovered from the loss of the great Armada to the British weather in 1588, the gift of Gibraltar to the British in 1713, the loss of the slave ship La Amistad to slaves in 1839 and the subsequent case in the “Anglo Saxon”US courts and now you try to excuse this month’s behaviour on the hurt and pain of the Spanish Civil War – incidentally, Gibraltar played it role in taking refugees from both sides with equal hospitality and even saved the life of the father of the present king John Charles who embarked on HMS Enterprise to save his skin!

    Antonio2, we don’t all just have to become European to get on.  All we need is for people to acknowledge that we are all different and respect people as individuals and as groups!

    The 11 year old Gibraltarian football players were not involved in the Spanish Civil War, let alone the capture of Gibraltar and neither were you in it’s loss.  Neither the Gibraltarian nor the Spaniard ever chose to be born and even less decide on which nationality they should be born into.  The only reason Spain has a problem with Gibraltar is because politicians and dictators always need to distract from the misery they cause at home! Now, after so many years of  repeating the same old carp it has become a national obsession.

    Antonio2, defending the indefensible is by definition indefensible.  Think for yourself macho,  at least then if you make a fool of yourself it is only you to blame and you were not just following orders.  Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated.

  13. Morocco has been trying to get Ceuta and Melilla back from Spain for years, infact I remember an incident not so long ago where an uninhabited island called Perejil just off the Moroccan coast was invaded by Moroccan soldiers, Spain sent half their Navy there to protect this island and it’s goats!!! What I don’t get is they ignore Morocco’s claime yet bleat on about their claim to Gibraltar. When it suits all in Spain’s favor. I am British of Spanish descent so understand both cultures and languages. I can never figure this out… Give up, the Llanitos don’t want to be Spanish they want to be Gibraltareños. And for what it’s worth the Malvinas are British too and this one is just about oil, it was never part of Argentina and hopefully never will be.

  14. Peter Hall-Owen.

    The city of melilla was taken from the kingdom of Fez by
    Pedro Estopinan a military soldier fighting for the duke of
    Medina sidonia who later past on Melilla to King Charles V
    of Spain in 1556 under a united Spain.Spain did exist under Charles the V.

  15. …. what have all these historical dates to do with unexcusable bad behavior by adults, of whatever nationality, towards children in a friendly football tournament ? Most of these comments are part of the problem – not the solution ?

  16. So sad to see such Spanish immaturity.
    The Gibraltar team should ask for an immediate refund which would probably bankrupt Spain.
    Gibraltar you are a thriving hard working successful country unlike your nasty Spanish neighbours who have had to accept Cash handouts from The EU to keep afloat
    Reminds me of another Spanish speaking country that likes to blame the rest of the world for all it’s trouble Argentina who incidentally STOLE a Spanish owned Gas company last year-what lovely people these Spanish are
    GOD BLESS GIBRALTAR.

  17. In according with the resolution 1514 in the year 1960 of the UN, about decolonization,Gibraltar is “the only colony existing in Europe, afecting to national unity and territorial integrity of Spain”. I don´t understand why the Spanish teams plays with the teams of Gibraltar.

  18. So the red indians will kick out the us citizens from north america portugal will return to spain france will reclaim catalonia etc etc the issue here is that spain will respect nobody full stop ….whtat a mentality…..

  19. Aussie you stick to BBQ’s and dossing on the beach all day. Maybe when you get some free time on your hands you should read the facts in question about how Gibraltar is constantly harassed by a fascist country such as Spain.

  20. For those that think Gibraltarian kids flying their flag at a football match is wrong. . .Up yours mateys! If a Scottish team was playing I would expect to see the Saltire flying. Anyway, this is far from the first time they have done this to children from Gibraltar.

    We play with them because sports is a way to overcome politics and foster friendly relations for the future. Something too many people here seem to be forgetting.

    Shame on the organisers of this tournament

  21. English people should study some history, Ceuta and Melilla were founded in the sixteenth century by Spanish from scratch, at? that time there existed no country or people in that area.
    England get out of the Mediterranean!!!

  22. Sorry to have to say that you Aussie are totally ridiculous, the Spanish gave Gibraltar to the UK for perpetuity not only in the treaty of Utrecht which everyone harps on about but in the treaty of Paris and the treaty of Seville, why? Because there was nothing in Gibraltar they wanted at the time, and so preferred east and west Florida and Menorca instead. We the Gibraltarians got on amazing with our neighbours until Franco came into Spain with the moors killed anyone who wasn’t supporting him and made the king of Spain flee for his life, I have the honour to have a great grandmother and Grandmother who witnessed Franco’s army come to their houses getting everyone out and shooting all the men in the family at gun point and on front of their mothers, wives, sisters and children. Spain was so bad at that time that in order to unite his country he made a claim for Gibraltar, that was the first time a claim was made. He changed the history books so that schools would teach how the British robbed Spain of their land, I know this because I had family in Spain and they were taught this way. Franco then closed the border with Gibraltar, thinking that it would cripple us and we would die, but sad as it was, as many families were separated never to see each other again even on their death beds, I know this as my great grandmOther died and her daughter heard about this with the red handkerchief waved at the border for death or white for still alive, we struggled but made Gibraltar what it is today, prosperous and proud. That is why Spain want it now because its the only thing stuck to them that is worth anything. How some people here don’t have respect for us as people is horrible, I have 10 generations buried on my land called Gibraltar, this is our land it has been for over 300 years, we have the right just like any human being to be able to decide our future. Do you think we want our future with Spain? We have had 2 referendums and in both more than 98% of the people have chosen to be British. But Spain doesn’t respect that and by force we will have to be Spanish and that is why they act like this, a nation of 47 million bullying one of 30 thousand just because we don’t want to Spanish. Sorry about the history lesson just hate it when people talk about things that not only have they not lived or experienced but doesn’t affect them At all and still think they can have an opinion about.

  23. Aussie i dont know where u come from or what nationality u r the simple thing is that gib was invited to the games they didnt like the gib flag and i hope EUEFA and therest of EUROPE vote against the fascist doctrine when MADRID comes up for the following games.

  24. Aussie IF you really are Australian perhaps after having revised European History you should consider who the original inhabitants of Australia were… and the fact that most of the white new-comers were actual convicts from the UK. No wonder then you defend the indefensible. It obviously runs in the blood of those less able to understand what the difference between democracy and the right for people to decide their nationality are! By the way Spain was NOT yet a country when Ceuta and Melilla were conquered NOT by Spain but by a tribe that originated in the north of Europe after the romans were defeated!

  25. Mare Nostrum, Gibraltar will remain BRITISH for as long as the majority of Spaniards think as you do. Another 300 years perhaps?
    Grow up, catch up with the world and just maybe Gib will belong to Spain before your grandchildren peg out?
    But I doubt it, Francoism is too deeply embedded in the Spanish psyche.
    GB would love to have the USA back – and that was less than 300 years ago and absolutely no chance!
    Try to get Spain back on its feet by WORKING for survival instead of dreaming the impossible.

  26. The vote for the Olympics very soon Madrid won’t be getting it with this behaviour. Spain is heading down a very dangerous road at the moment. Hitler and co started with a bogeyman and rajoy and co are going the same way with this rhetoric. You imagine The uproar on telecinco if the boot had been on the other foot

  27. Too much history and history has a way of repeating itself. We are talking about kids, sports and sportsmanship; obviously a word that Spain does not recognise? Spain is falling apart, if the Spanish nation do not come to terms with what is happening; Spain will divide (thus history repeating itself). They will finish with so many flags that they will have difficulty choosing they one to represent the country! So leave our kids and our flag alone; we fly it high and proud and it will stand as solid as our Rock of Gibraltar! I say to the Spanish who wish us ill fate get yourself a life!…. and a job, and barcenas and indungarin and the preferentes etc etc etc!!!

  28. aussie is anti Gibraltarian – I have seen his unfriendly comments before in other forums. aussie – would YOU like to be part of a country ruled by a fascist regime? would you like to be told that you have to give up your nationality and way of life because the territory in which you live is geographically part of another? where do you draw the line…does portugal belong to spain? or spain to portugal for that matter LOL! Get your principles right before spewing nonsense!

  29. Well, what did they expect? In the middle of such a crisis between Spain and the Colony any chances to raise hell should be avoided. As long as (british) gibraltarians keep looking down on (spanish) gibraltareños and behave as a pirate cove they should expect this kind of treatment in Spain.

    Curiously enough, britons would hardly, if ever, be booed away in Spain. Spaniards have a problem with how the Gibraltarian government makes deals, but not with the UK nor britons in general.

  30. aussie I doupt it very much that you are australian more of a very unhappy spaniard I have just this to say to you and idiots like you gibraltar belongs to the people of gibraltar and we have desided to stay british as stated in the 1704 utrecht in perpetuity

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