UEFA gives provisional entry to Gibraltar league
MADRID - Agence France-PresseGibraltar’s football league won provisional entry into European football’s governing body UEFA on Oct. 1, moving forward in a membership bid that is hotly opposed by Spain.
UEFA’s executive committee took the decision at a meeting in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, falling in line with an earlier ruling in Gibraltar’s favor by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
“The committee has admitted Gibraltar as a provisional member of UEFA as from today,” UEFA said. “This follows a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in August 2011. A decision on the admission of the Gibraltar Football Association as a full member of UEFA will be taken by the XXXVII Ordinary UEFA Congress in May 2013.”
Gibraltar previously won provisional membership of UEFA in December 2006, also after a favorable CAS ruling, only to be turned down a month later by a large majority in a UEFA Congress.
Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain in 1713 under the Treaty of Utrecht but has long argued that it should be returned to Spanish sovereignty. Britain refuses to do so against the wishes of Gibraltarians.
Spain’s government would oppose Gibraltar’s UEFA membership “with every legal means possible,” a Spanish foreign ministry spokeswoman told Europa Press.