Chad Thomson

Chad Thomson has 3 articles published.

Investing into Gibraltar

in Sport Insight

Investing into Gibraltar sports delivers many returns, both in economic terms and in terms of the health and social benefits that wider participation in sport provides within our community. Regular sporting activity provides both physical and mental health benefits. From a GDP perspective there is also evidence to suggest that investment in Sport increases GDP. 

The Government of Gibraltar invested £1,520,970 in the 2019 Island Games, with a perceived uptick to the economy of approximately £3million. Budget 2019 Minister Linares Address.

Investing in sport also helps strengthen our communities and inspire and engage our young people – and this is particularly true at the grassroots level. The achievements of Amanda Carreras, Jack Prior and Seb Desoisa have all been made possible by investments of time, money, energy and expertise in the very early stages of their respective careers. 

Through its support of National Associations the Sports Development Unit “SDU” (part of the GSLA) should be a lead contributor to the funding of the development of grassroots and amateur sports in Gibraltar. I am hopeful that government funding will continue to support associations delivering both physical and mental wellbeing, as well as individual, social and community developmental sporting activities. 

Supporting grassroots sport will help us become a more active and healthier country, strengthen community cohesion and offering young Gibraltarians the opportunity to develop valuable skills such as discipline, respect, teamwork and self-confidence. These are all values that we share as a small nation. This is why the government should be committed in its support for initiatives from all sides that are aimed at increasing participation in sport. 

Yet, it is known that at this time there is considerable pressure on government finances, it is crucial that government, the private sector and the sports community work together to consider new ways of ensuring the long- term financial sustainability of the sports sector. The incredible investment into world class sports facilities, providing ‘a Home’ for many sports should also empower their National Associations to actively commercialise their activities at their respective homes to help fund themselves. 

Unfortunately not all sports benefit from exposure to the private sector and Gibraltar’s corporate world. Is there room for the Sports Development Unit or another entity to explore how it might create a funding platform that is supported by the private sector to invest in young Gibraltarian athletes and teams, the answer is of course there is. Could the possibility of a community wide raffle or lottery, as successively seen in the UK through the National Lottery and Sport England the benefactor, the answer is of course there is. Even though the Sports Development Unit is tax payer backed, the role of the Unit could also be to raise private sector funds to match and support its endeavours, not necessarily replace the Government budget for the SDU but sit alongside and ultimately uptick our funding into National Sports Associations.

Currently SDU funding follows a very rigid template, where it is believed a one size fits all works across all 40+ National Associations. Arguably there is not the freedom for associations to apply for these funds based on participation or for initiatives that sit outside the SDU structure so focusing on funding streams from the private sector should be encouraged to meet these shortfalls. It should also be considered that a review or consultation takes place to consider an annual grant to National Associations with monies for them to invest in programmes as they deem necessary to the development of their sport, audited to ensure the following years grant is received. 

Another factor for Gibraltar Rugby is that owing to Gibraltar’s political climate, Gibraltar Rugby is not yet members of its world governing body. The primary funding stream into Gibraltar Rugby is through our corporate partners. Being a volunteer led association clears the way from any personal benefit that an organisation might take in rewarding its Board. Our Board members are all volunteers. We are also able to align with our corporate partners by clearly identify areas that benefit the corporate, offering exposure to a large participated sports membership and can evidence where the money is spent within our grassroots back to the corporate. We also fully respect our corporate partners needs, we centrally control all approaches to Gibraltar companies and we ensure we mitigate any conflict with competitors where a corporate deems there to be one thus maximising exposure. We live and breath our core values and that resonates with the message our corporate supporters want their customers to see. The added benefit that there is a 50% tax deduction for business marketing and promotion costs should also encourage Gibraltar National Sport Associations to actively pursue support from industries whom already benefit from a relatively low tax environment. Finally it goes without saying that often leaders of industry often are or were sports persons, they understand the befit of sport, the impact it has made on their own lives and even if the product or exposure doesn’t quite make sense the goodwill factor with supporting a good sporting cause does. That said even for us, in an arguably endemic covid environment and the many political challenges facing us, this is no easy task, we must continue to strive to succeed with partnership within the corporate world as our athletes strive for success on the playing field.  

Santa’s Little Gadgets

in Technology Insight


Of all the streaming bits of hardware, Roku has really upped the ante with the latest bits of kit on offer. Now smaller, and with higher resolution. Private listening with the smartphone app allows you to listen to your favourite shows with your own headphones.

Google Nest Cam

The Google Nest Cam is a great looking piece of kit, with hints of the old Apple angle poise iMac thrown in. Coupled with the convenience of Google, it’s a robust home security option.


Those awfully clever people at Bose, have combined two staples of life in Gibraltar: music and sunglasses. These Bluetooth devices allow you to be Joe Cool without the need for earphones. Or wires.

GARMIN Instinct

Smartwatches can mean more than an Apple Watch. Garmin’s Instinct watch is available in a variety of colours and is ideal for venturing to Upper Rock and beyond.


Never misplace or lose something ever again. Apple AirTag is here to the rescue for all sorts of trinkets, keys and whatever else takes your fancy. Use the Find My app to track your belongings. It even has safeguards against creepy behaviour built-in.

Gibraltar Rugby – looking beyond Covid

in Features

One would have to say that 2020/21 has been an ‘interesting’ season for Gibraltar Rugby! Like so many sports on the Rock, we were impacted by the coronavirus and the various restrictions that had to be put in place but, with the support of the Government, Public Health and the GSLA and the introduction of necessary protocols, we were able to enjoy a truncated season and the opportunity to play some variations on the traditional format.

The Gibraltar Rugby Football Union consist of four Clubs – the DHL Europa Stormers, the Sovereign Rock Scorpions, the InLine Framing Straits Sharks and the IBEX Bay Buccaneers – a Women’s section, a Minis and Youth section and Vets, players over the age of 35 who want to continue playing rugby.

In October, under the protocols, the Clubs were able to play a touch version of the 10s game, and with a relaxation of the restrictions, after three rounds, we managed to introduce three rounds of contact. The Stormers were the winners of the non-contact competition, and the Scorpions took the honours in contact.

It was April, however, before we got the green light to play again and with the vaccinations and testing in place, and the agreement of Public Health, we could revert to our 15 a-side u-mee Gibraltar Rugby Championship (GRC) which saw some of the most competitive games in the GRC to date. We crammed in six rounds, over consecutive weeks, and the Buccaneers were crowned Champions for the second season in a row. The Cup competition was won by the Stormers, and the Sharks took the Plate.

Whilst the senior men’s game is probably the most established, it is in our Mini and Youth and Women’s sections where we have seen the greatest growth. 

Despite Covid, we’ve seen our Mini & Youth numbers grow and towards the end of the season we were regularly having 200 plus kids training and playing rugby on Saturday mornings. They start with our Rugby Tots which is for the 2–5-year age group and then school years 1-7, and an U14s and U16s. And one of the benefits of the restrictions on travel meant that we were able to arrange a few ‘home’ games for our U16s at the Europa Sports Park, the Home of Gibraltar Rugby, and they thrilled the spectators in thoroughly entertaining matches.  

Our Women’s Section can probably be best described as still in its infancy, but the enthusiasm and commitment of the players is exemplary. During the season they have migrated from playing touch rugby to full contact and only a few weeks ago played their first competitive game against a visiting select side made up from three Spanish Clubs. Not only was it their first game but they also won and have, therefore, set themselves a high bar for achievement!

In addition to our domestic season, we also played some Vets fixtures over the past few months, and it was a Vets game that opened the inaugural 7s weekend in June. This was the first time that Gibraltar Rugby had hosted a 7s tournament, with a weekend of rugby, and local teams competing with visitors from Spain and the UK. It was a great competition that has put a marker down for future tournaments. The Cup was won by the Viator Barbarians, from Northern Spain and the Plate by the Wenglish Wanderers consisting of a few local Buccaneers!

There was also a Corporate Touch Tournament over six evenings during May and June which was great fun and saw a range of businesses from across Gibraltar competing for the Challenge Cup. In2Adventures were the narrow winners, edging Advantage Insurance and Peninsula.      

With the 2020/21 season concluded, our focus is now firmly on 2021/22 and we have started to establish our plans for the coming season. Some dates are already in the diary: 

• 4 – 6 August – the 11th Annual Summer Camp for boys and girls aged 8-18 years, with the Bristol Bears Academy – Registration is still open.

• Early (TBC) September – Minis & Youths registration day and start of the Age Grade Rugby Season

• 17 – 19 September – Coaching Conference, with senior coaches from the Welsh and Scottish Rugby Unions

• 24 – 25 September – the Annual Royal Marines fixture against a Gibraltar Select and the Marines Vets against a Gibraltar Vets Select 

• 2 October – Start of the Gibraltar Rugby Championship

Next season will also see the development of our domestic competition with a Youth Rugby Championship every month providing the opportunity to play in locally based competitions with structured fixtures. Designed for girls and boys from Year 3 – Year 13, it provides appropriate physical and technical skill development as well as introducing the tactical concepts of Rugby. It emphasises the desirable qualities of sportsmanship, fair play and safety. 

As part of the plans to improve domestic competition we plan to introduce select games in the form of Red v Black, where the Red team is made up from players from the Stormers and the Buccaneers with the Black team consisting of players from the Scorpions and the Sharks. This Red and Black set up will be mirrored throughout the sections as we move, over time, to integrate our Minis and Youth and Women’s section into the Club structure. Our Minis & Youth will also split into Red and Black as part of their monthly competitions.

There is certainly a lot to keep us occupied over the coming season and if you’re interested in playing or getting involved as a volunteer, why not check out our Facebook on @GibraltarRugby.

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