Gibraltar Joins UEFA As 54th Member, To Be Kept Apart From Spain In Euro '16 Qualifying
UEFA has approved the entrance of Gibraltar as the organization's 54th member, "thanks to a judgement of the Court for Arbitration for Sport and in the face of protests from Spanish Football Federation and the Spanish government, who had previously threatened to withdraw Spanish teams from European competitions if the territory was allowed to join," according to Joaquín Maroto of AS. Its definitive inclusion was voted on Friday "by the 53 existing members." UEFA President Michel Platini said in December that the CAS had in effect "obliged" UEFA to accept Gibraltar as a full member, meaning the result today was always likely, and which opens the door for clubs from the territory to play in European competitions and for their national selection to play in UEFA organized tournaments, including the European Championships (AS, 5/24). The PA reported Gibraltar FA won a case at the court of arbitration for sport obliging UEFA "to accept the British overseas territory as a member." Platini said that Gibraltar "would be kept apart from Spain in qualifying for Euro 2016." Platini: "Gibraltar will not play qualifying matches with Spain." Gibraltar FA President Gareth Latin said, "It will open up a whole new world of opportunities for our highly skilled young footballers. This is one of our greatest sporting moments" (PA, 5/24). In London, Robin Scott-Elliot wrote Spain and Gibraltar, which has 650 registered players, join Azerbaijan and Armenia, and Russia and Georgia on UEFA's list of opponents "that have to be kept apart for non-footballing reasons" (INDEPENDENT, 5/24).