Something Very Strange Happened At The Gibraltar vs Liechtenstein Game Last Night

Chris Wright

24th, March 2016


By Joseph Viney (@jjviney)


Gibraltar’s national team, circa Oct 2015

For a lot of football fans international friendlies are more trouble than they’re worth. They are cited as meaningless and present a disruption to the flow of a league season – or, more importantly, people’s Fantasy Football teams.

One of last night’s fixtures saw two revered titans of the game square off: Gibraltar and Liechtenstein. The former have only been playing competitively for under two and half years and immediately became European football’s new whipping boys alongside the likes of San Marino and Andorra.

The latter – officially a Principality – have fared a little better in their 34-year lifespan, despite receiving their record defeat at the hands of the mighty Macedonia: an 11-1 drubbing in November 1996.

It’s fair to say that nobody expected a game for the ages when the two sides met at Gibraltar’s Victoria Stadium, and… well, they were right.

They huffed and puffed along to a 0-0 finish but despite the lack of anything even approaching goalmouth action, the match definitely provided its fair share of notably bizarre incidents.

If you’d been relying on the BBC or the Guardian’s live score updates for this blockbuster clash, you’d have been forgiven for thinking that it hadn’t taken place at all.

Indeed, The BBC failed to update the game’s status from kick-off…


Image: BBC Sport

While every other game received a full-time score, the Gibraltar match still registered as not even having started.

The Guardian went one step further and didn’t even list the game at all…


Image: Guardian Football

The weirdness didn’t end there. Liechtenstein had three goals ruled out by Welsh referee Ryan Stewart, one of them a free kick which was chalked off with no apparent infringement occurring.

Twitter user @aidan_2807 stated that after the three goals had been disallowed, a Gibraltar player walked off the pitch to be replaced only to high five the referee on his way to the dugout.

Other Tweeters soon began peddling a couple of choice conspiracy theories, the main one of which revolved around the amounts of money put on a seemingly innocuous game.

One user even tweeted UEFA, demanding Ryan Stewart be investigated for a game that he felt was “obviously fixed”.

Let us be very clear here. We are in no way accusing anybody involved in the game or at any other level of being involved in anything irregular or illegal.

Instead, we are simply presenting both facts and opinions surrounding events on the field and pointing out that some of the goings-on were a bit on the odd side.

It’s certainly a strange case though, and one that looks to have dipped under word football’s radar.

Posted in International football, Newsnow

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  1. PetrovskyKSC says:

    What a disgrace. Hopefully, they’ll be able to bring the twat to justice

  2. usrick says:

    The evidence may not prove conclusively that the match was fixed but it surely justifies – and in fact demands – an investigation.

  3. Mike Boyle says:

    Really? Let’s be fair to the ref here, from the video he got that decision right. Even I can see a Liechtenstein player committing a foul by push the Gibraltar wall aside. No real conspiracy, is there.

  4. There were 2 goals disallowed. An offside (play had stopped before striker scored) and the free kick which was given for a foul on the wall. No conspiracy. No foul play.

  5. Yanito says:

    You are not “simply presenting…facts” as your article is untrue. ONE goal was disallowed. ONE. I agree that the reason it was disallowed was not readily apparent, but there must have been one. Goals occasionally do get disallowed in football. No scandal here.

  6. Chris Segovia says:

    I was at the game. Offside was called by the linesman before the ball went into the back of the net. The second was ruled out for a foul in the wall and the ball actually deflected off the wall sending the keeper the other way.
    The referee that was high fived was actually the fourth official (the one tht holds the board up).

  7. Mark Ballester says:

    This article is jokes, I was at the game, the only questionable goal that was disallowed was the free kick, you may not see it in the video but it took a massive deflection off what the referee says he saw a free kick, for the ONLY other “disallowed” goal it was so long after a clear offside if it wasn’t a friendly he would have probably been given a yellow card for shooting after the whistle, as for the amount of money placed on the game, a bit of common sense tells you that it was the start of international break, and there where only 5 senior international friendlys so obviously all those 5 games will get more bets places than if there where 30 friendliest that day. We actually had a quality ref, poor guy man, this isn’t presenting both sides, there’s nothing defending him ..

  8. British invaders go out Spain says:

    Great, irregular games in a Tax Haven in a Spanish territory occupied by the force of the British Army? Welcome to the Brit rules of the games! What’s new 100 years after 1916 when they decided to split Ireland in two parts?

    • Spanish invaders go out Britain says:

      Great, regular games played in a British territory which Spain signed away by treaty, then broke the treaty by trying to invade. Whats new decades later after Franco died but the fascist mentality remained?

  9. Andy says:

    Wow. There were an irregular amount of people who read this website at that game. Deserves an investigation

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