Gibraltar move step closer to UEFA membership

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Gibraltar move step closer to UEFA membership

By Mike Collett

ISTANBUL, March 21 (Reuters) – Gibraltar’s long-standing
dream of joining UEFA and taking part in European competition
came closer to reality on Wednesday when the European governing
body’s executive committee agreed financial and educational
support.

The tiny British colony at the tip of Spain with a
population of 28,000 people has applied to become UEFA’s 54th
member before next year’s UEFA Congress in London when the other
members will vote on its future.

Gibraltar last bid for UEFA membership in 2007 but out of
the then 52 member associations only the English, Scottish and
Welsh FAs voted in favour, while Spain threatened to boycott and
withdraw from any competition to which Gibraltar were admitted.

Since then Gibraltar has competed against other outcast
countries and is a member of the Federation of International
Football Independents FIFI, an alternative to FIFA. The first
FIFI world cup was contested in 2006 in Hamburg in Germany, with
five nations taking part; Gibraltar, the Turkish Republic of
Northern Cyprus (the eventual winner), Zanzibar, Greenland and
Tibet.

Gibraltar’s case has been strengthened by the Court of
Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling that UEFA have to consider
its membership.

Spain still claims sovereignty over Gibraltar after it was
ceded to Britain under the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. An edict from
the Consejo Superior de Deportes to all sports federations in
Spain says they should block any membership application from
organisations in Gibraltar.

Editing by John Mehaffey)

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Gibraltar move step closer to UEFA membership

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