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Gibraltar Premier Division
Founded1905
Folded2019
CountryGibraltar
ConfederationUEFA
Number of teams10
Level on pyramid1
Relegation toGibraltar Second Division
Domestic cup(s)Rock Cup
International cup(s)UEFA Champions League
UEFA Europa League
Most championshipsLincoln Red Imps
(24 titles)
WebsiteGibraltar FA

The Gibraltar Premier Division was a football league established by the Gibraltar Football Association (GFA) in 1905, and the top tier of football in Gibraltar. It originally contained eight member clubs, but it has grown over the years. In 1909 the league was split into two divisions between which clubs can be promoted and relegated at the end of each season. In the 2013–14 season, the Premier Division contained eight clubs with the Second Division containing 12 clubs. For sponsorship reasons it is known as the Argus Insurance Premier Division.

From the 2014–15 season, as a result of the territory's membership of UEFA, the champions entered the first UEFA Champions League qualifying round. The winners of Gibraltar's cup competition, the Rock Cup, meanwhile, gained entry to the following season's UEFA Europa League qualifying rounds. From the 2016–17 season, Gibraltar received an additional place in the Europa League qualifying round for the league runner-up. In 2019 the league merged with the Gibraltar Second Division and became the Gibraltar National League.[1]

History

Football in Gibraltar dates from 1892, when military personnel in the territory started playing as Prince of Wales. By 1895 the number of clubs had grown to the point that the Gibraltar Football Association was formed and a tournament (the predecessor to the Premier Division), the Merchants Cup, began, with Gibraltar winning the inaugural competition. By 1907 the Premier Division had officially taken shape with Prince of Wales winning the first full season of league football in Gibraltar. The side went on to win 19 league titles before folding some time in the 1950s.

Since the league's formation, football has been played almost every season, along with the Gibraltar Second Division (founded 1909) and a national cup competition, the Rock Cup. After the FA's admission to UEFA, the Gibraltar Premier Cup was established in 2013 to provide more competitive games for the sides in the top tier.

Due to the restricted and amateur nature of the league in the past, the competition has been prone to spells of dominance at certain times: for example, the early 20th century dominance by Prince of Wales and the 10 league titles in 11 seasons attained by Glacis United in the 1960s and 1970s. At present Lincoln Red Imps are the dominant side in the division, having won every season since 2000–01 with the exception of the 2001–02 season, until 2017. However, the UEFA acceptance and potential for increased professionalism in the league has opened the possibility of other sides closing the gap, with sides such as Manchester 62 and Lynx making inroads in the 2013–14 season. This came to pass in the 2016–17 season, when Europa FC won their first title in over 60 years.

In 2018, the Gibraltar FA announced changes to the league involving an increase in the "Home Grown Player" quota to 3 players on the pitch, per team, at any one time, as well as introducing salary caps (to be introduced in the senior leagues from 2019) and the introduction of the Gibraltar Intermediate League, replacing the Reserves League and Under-18 League, in order to promote local player development.[2]

For the 2019–20 season, the Premier Division and the Second Division were merged to create a single division for Gibraltar, known as the Gibraltar National League.[3]

Premier Division 2018-19 season

Club Last season
Boca Gibraltar Gibraltar Second Division, 1st (promoted)
Europa FC 2nd
Gibraltar Phoenix 6th
Gibraltar United 4th
Glacis United 7th
Lincoln Red Imps 1st (champions)
Lions Gibraltar 8th
Lynx 9th
Mons Calpe 5th
St Joseph's 3rd

Source:[4]

League Champions

Performance by club

Bold indicates club still playing in top division.
Italics indicates club no longer active.

Team Titles Last Title
Lincoln Red Imps 25 2018–19
Prince of Wales 19 1952–53
Glacis United 17 1999–00
Britannia XI 14 1962–63
Gibraltar United 11 2001–02
Europa 7 2016–17
Manchester 62 7 1998–99
St Theresa's 3 1997–98
South United 2 1910–11
Exiles 2 1901–02
Jubilee 2 1897–98
Gibraltar 2 1923–24
St Joseph's 1 1995–96
Chief Constructor 1 1935–36
Chief Construction 1 1934–35
Commander of the Yard 1 1933–34
Royal Sovereign 1 1914–15
Athletic 1 1904–05
Albion 1 1898–99

See also

References

  1. ^ Key changes to the domestic league revealed to clubs Gibraltar Chronicle. 1 August 2019. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  2. ^ "GFA rule changes pave the way for more locals to play in the leagues".
  3. ^ "Senior League Rules" (PDF). GFA. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 April 2019. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  4. ^ "GFA Senior League 2012-13". Gibraltar Football Association. Archived from the original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2012.