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Gibraltar admitted as member of UEFA

Gibraltar have been granted UEFA membership, allowing its national team and clubs to enter international and continental competition.

The tiny British overseas territory, which lies just to the south of Spain and has a population of around 28,000, will become the governing body's 54th member after UEFA's annual Congress, which met on Friday, voted in favour of its admittance.

Gibraltar, who have faced fierce opposition from neighbours Spain, first applied for UEFA membership in 1999, before being granted provisional membership last October.

"This is a momentous moment for us," Gareth Latin, president of the Gibraltar FA, told the UEFA Congress. "It means we can now begin the next chapter of Gibraltar football."

Gibraltar's case was strengthened by a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling in 2011 that said UEFA has to consider its membership.

The 'yes' vote means the overseas territory can participate in the qualifiers for Euro 2016, while its teams will first feature in the qualifying competitions for the 2014 European Under-17 and Under-19 championship.

Gibraltar have been drawn against England, Armenia and Ireland in the Under-17 qualifiers and Croatia, Czech Republic and Cyprus in the Under-19 qualifiers.

Spain still claims sovereignty over Gibraltar after it was ceded to Britain under the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. An edict from the Consejo Superior de Deportes to all sports federations in Spain says they should block any membership application from organisations in Gibraltar.


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