Gibraltar Wins Long Battle to Join UEFA

May 24, 2013

By Keir Radnedge

Gibraltar, ed finally, shop has won its right to play an equal role in the European – and hence ultimately world – football family. UEFA Congress voted in favour today by an overwhelmingly majority.

For two decades the British protectorate had been blocked by the Spanish federation at the orders of its own government which has always objected to the status of ‘The Rock’ and feared recognition would only encourage independence movements in Catalonia and Vizcaya.

The GFA eventually appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport which ruled that, ambulance under the terms of UEFA statutes when Gibraltar applied in 1999, it had no right to deny membership.

That formal background was set out by veteran UEFA director Senes Erzik who told delegates that, under the statutes pertaining in 1999 the CAS had ruled that the GFA was entitled to full membership of UEFA.

This decision was not a precedent for any other territories and thus, Erzik added: “Both UEFA and the GFA have faithfully followed the road map leading up to this vote. Based on this we ask the UEFA Congress to vote on the membership application made by the GFA.”

Thanks were expressed by Gareth Latin, president of the GFA.

He told congress: “It has been a long journey but football and all our love for the sport has prevailed. This is a momentous occasion for football on Gibraltar. We can now begin the next chapter of Gibraltar football, offering our  football community the best possible  future and development means.”

Latin, as he left the congress stage, was applauded by delegates including – most notably – Spanish federation president Angel Maria Villar.