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ROCK OF CONTENTION

Uefa grants Gibraltar international soccer status on provisional basis

Decision follows ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport Colony’s full membership must be ratified by congress

The Uefa Executive Committee on Monday provisionally admitted the Gibraltar Football Association as a member of the continental governing body. The decision follows a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling last year stating Uefa must consider allowing the tiny British colony to become the 54th member of the organization.

Gibraltar’s admission must be ratified at the XXXVII Uefa Congress in London next May. However, history does not bode well for Gibraltar’s chances of hosting full international matches at the 5,000-seater Victoria Stadium: A similar motion put to the 2007 Uefa Congress in Dusseldorf was voted down by 48 to 4 – only the UK home nations were in favor of the proposal.

Gibraltar was ceded to the UK in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht but Spain claims sovereignty over the colony. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said the nation would oppose Gibraltar’s accession to Uefa “with all legal means available.”

A spokesman for Spain’s Foreign Ministry has said Madrid will continue to oppose Gibraltar’s membership of Uefa “with all available judicial means.”

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