KEIR RADNEDGE in BUDAPEST: FIFA has been instructed by sport’s supreme court to admit Gibraltar to membership.
The Rock’s application was rejected in September 2014 by the world federation’s executive committee even though the GFA had already won its long fight to gain admission to European governing body UEFA.
FIFA rejected Gibraltar’s application because the British territory was not an independent country as required by the governing body in statutes which had been updated in 2013, two months before Gibraltar joined UEFA after winning previous case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Now CAS has told FIFA to submit Gibraltar’s application later this month to its Congress, which has the power to grant membership. In effect, as with UEFA prevously, the CAS panel clearly considered the rule change deliberately vexacious.
The part-timers finished bottom of Group D in Euro 2016 qualifying without collecting a point in their first senior competitive campaign.
However, they were not able to be included in the World Cup qualifying draw last July. This could yet be amended.
CAS said that Congress, being held in Mexico City and its first under new president Gianni Infantino, “shall take all necessary measures to admit the Gibraltar FA as a full member of FIFA without delay.”
A statement from the GFA said: “We understand that FIFA are working to ensure our inclusion in next week’s Congress agenda.”
Infantino was general secretary of UEFA when it admitted to the GFA.
Opposition to Gibraltar at all levels has come from Spain – which lays political claims to the territory – and from Russia and Serbia which both have particular concerns of their own about the admission and hence recognition of politically-disputed territories.
UEFA’s own congress, here in Budapest tomorrow, will consider an application for membership from Kosovo which – contrarily – is expected t ne admitted later this month to FIFA despite having been continually blocked by UEFA.
The UEFA objection has always been that Kosovo does not fulfil its regulatory demand that member nations should be members of the United Nations.
Kosovo has already been admitted to the Olympic movement.
LAUSANNE: The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued its decision in the appeal arbitration procedure between the Gibraltar Football Association (GFA) and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).
The GFA’s appeal against the decision issued by the FIFA Executive Committee on 26 September 2014 is partially upheld to the extent that the FIFA Executive Committee is ordered to transmit the Gibraltar Football Association’s application for FIFA membership to the FIFA Congress, which shall take all necessary measures to admit the Gibraltar
Football Association as a full member of FIFA without delay.
The GFA has sought for 20 years to become a member of UEFA and FIFA. In May 2013, as aresult of a CAS arbitration, it became a member of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and went on to seek membership of FIFA.
On 26 September 2014, the FIFA Executive Committee informed the GFA that the requirements for admission to FIFA were not met and that it would not submit the GFA’s application to the FIFA Congress (which is the body authorised to admit new members to FIFA).
The GFA filed an appeal against such decision at the CAS, arguing that FIFA improperly rejected its application and that the CAS should directly award it with FIFA membership.
The CAS procedure was conducted by a Panel of three CAS arbitrators: Prof. Massimo Coccia, Italy (President), Prof. Jan Paulsson, France, and Mr Bernhard Welten, Switzerland.
The Panel found that the CAS did have jurisdiction to entertain the appeal and accepted that the GFA’s application should have been transferred to the FIFA Congress.
However, the CAS Panel refused to directly grant FIFA membership to GFA. Accordingly, the Panel has unanimously ordered that the FIFA Congress take all necessary measures to admit the GFA as a full member of FIFA as soon as possible, within the limits of the FIFA Statutes.