Gibraltar hopeful on UEFA vote

Gibraltar's Football Association (GFA) have told Sky Sports they are 'quietly confident' of gaining UEFA membership later this year.

Last Updated: 20/03/13 at 11:07 Post Comment

The GFA have been battling for a number of years to be recognised by UEFA and they were granted provisional membership late last year.

A vote at the UEFA congress to decide on Gibraltar's application will be taken in May.

"The question of our membership has been ongoing for a number of years, the situation now is that we are in the middle of a lobbying campaign and we are getting our message across to the 53 member nations of UEFA," Dennis Belso of the Gibraltan FA told Sky Sports.

"We are running a very positive campaign and we are pointing out there is a deep rooted football culture in Gibraltar and we are getting there slowly but surely and we hope to get the result we feel we believe in May."

Spain have always been the main stumbling block behind Gibraltar's efforts and have long campaigned against them.

"The opposition has been sadly, up to this date political, there can't be any sporting objection to Gibraltar membership of UEFA - we are quietly confident, we have been provisional members since October last year and on the back of that we have been involved in draws.

"We are already in draws for Under-19 and Under-17 (Championship) and in the Under-17s we have drawn England and the Republic of Ireland."

A yes vote in May would mean Gibraltar could participate in the qualifiers for Euro 2016.

"It would mean for us to participate in qualifiers for Euro 2016, at this stage we would be members of UEFA and not FIFA, so we could not take part in World Cup qualifiers until such time as we become members of FIFA which is a secondary stage after becoming members of the regional confederation such as UEFA.

"We have no strong feelings either way, we subscribe to the football principal of universality - we believe the level of football we have is competitive and a stronger minnow than some give us credit, but we would play in whatever UEFA put in front of us."

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