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Football: UEFA to consider Gibraltar's application next week

The Executive Committee of UEFA will discuss Gibraltar’s membership application when it meets next week in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The Gibraltar Football Association’s bid to join UEFA is one of two applications to be reviewed at the meeting, according to a UEFA statement yesterday. The committee meets next Wednesday and Thursday.

Gibraltar seems set to be named as the 53rd member of Uefa after a landmark ruling on its eligibility by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne. The decision that Spanish objections should be ignored may also open the way for Jersey and Guernsey to apply to become members.

Gibraltar's football association was formed in 1895, making it one of the 10 oldest national federations in the world, and it has had an application for Uefa membership pending since 1999 but failed in its previous attempt to join because the governing body adopted a rule which meant that only those recognised by the United Nations as independent states could become members. This happened after pressure from Spain, which still claims sovereignty over the territory which was ceded in perpetuity to Britain under the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht.

In its controversial ruling the CAS decreed: "The executive committee of Uefa is ordered to admit to provisional membership of Uefa the Gibraltar FA at its next executive committee meeting [in October]." Gibraltar will apply for full membership at the Uefa congress next January and, if accepted, will be eligible to enter the qualifying competition for Euro 2012.

"It's our right," said Peter Caruana, Gibraltar's chief minister. "There is now a ruling from the sports tribunal which backs up our claim and we won't stop until Gibraltarian sport gets the recognition it deserves."
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