Spain Blocks Gibraltar's Membership Bid To Join The European Rugby Association
The Gibraltar Rugby Football Union "has expressed bitter disappointment after the tiny British overseas territory's bid to join the European Rugby Association (FIRA-AER) was blocked by Spain on Saturday," according to Iain Rogers of REUTERS. Gibraltar's rugby players "were trying to emulate their football counterparts, who were accepted as members of governing body UEFA in May in the teeth of Spanish objections, but were denied in a vote of FIRA-AER members in Stockholm." GRFU General Secretary Chad Thomson said the organization had failed to win the necessary two-thirds majority "despite meeting all the criteria" for membership. FIRA-AER General Treasurer Jose Maria Epalza said, "Rugby lost and politics won today" (REUTERS, 7/6).