Gibraltar was awarded a third slot in European club competitions by UEFA last month following Champions League and Europa League success in the last two years.
The additional spot will be in the Europa League and will commence as from next season, creating more competition this year as teams fight it out to be the best of the rest.
The decision by UEFA was made as a result of Gibraltarian clubs performing well in Europe and gaining an impressive tally of club co-efficient points to move above San Marino and Andorra in the rankings.
Lincoln Red Imps’ historic 1-0 win against Celtic stands out in the memory, but points were equally marked in the club co-efficient rankings through successive progression to the second qualifying round, bettering opponents from Andorra and Estonia.
Europa FC flew the flag in the Europa League and also gained valuable points when they progressed to the second round through a 3-2 aggregate win against Armenian outfit Pyunik.
The Gibraltar FA has decided that the winners of this season’s Rock Cup, along with the First Division runners-up, will compete in the Europa League qualifiers for the 2016/2017 season. The league winners will take part in the Champions League third qualifying round as normal. If the second-placed team from this season’s league wins the Rock Cup, the third-placed side in the league will take the second Europa League slot.
A statement from the national association said that the increase in the co-efficient prompted them to write to UEFA and formally request an additional spot in the UEFA Europa League next year.
“Following further discussions between GFA officials and UEFA at the recent Congress in Athens, the GFA’s request has now been granted by the UEFA Executive Committee,” the spokesman said.