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By ESPN Staff

Gibraltar loses landslide UEFA member vote

Gibraltar's 10-year campaign to become a member of UEFA has ended in dismal failure.

The British overseas territory on the southern coast of Spain had won a court ruling forcing UEFA to accept them as a provisional member but UEFA's Congress has voted overwhelmingly against allowing Gibraltar membership.

There had been fierce opposition from Spain - in 2000 the Spanish federation said they would refuse to take part in any competition which involved the colony.

Only three of the 52 national associations in UEFA voted in favour of Gibraltar - the Football Association, the FA of Wales and the Scottish FA - and 45 voted against.

Gibraltar has a population of 28,000, but has no professional footballers and only 563 registered players.

Gibraltar had also lodged with the Court of Arbritration for Sport a claim for compensation from UEFA.

Gibraltar FA president Joseph Nunez had told the Congress: 'Our aim is to enhance and develop football in Gibraltar.

'These are worthy aims and objectives. The GFA never wanted and did not seek legal confrontation but was left with no other alternative.

'It is one of the 10 oldest national associations in the world and since it was created in 1895 has organised competitions on its territory.'

Spanish federation president Angel Maria Villar Llona opposed Gibraltar's admission to UEFA on the grounds that the Spanish government still claim Gibraltar as theirs.

He said: 'It's a political issue and since 1713 we have not found a political solution to this situation, because it is so difficult to resolve.'

Villar Llona promised that the Spanish federation would help the Gibraltar FA financially and with coach and referee training.