Gibraltar accepted into UEFA

LAST UPDATED: 11 Jun, 2013 @ 09:37
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Gibraltar accepted into UEFA

GIBRALTAR’S First Minister Fabian Picardo insisted it was a day no-one would forget.

And after all, Gibraltar had waited 120 years to be finally admitted into the official European football family.

“Most of us will remember forever where we were when we heard this decision come through,” said First Minister Fabian Picardo. “Today is a historic day.”

Now Gibraltar’s acceptance into UEFA will be marked with a celebration parade local teams.

Most of the Rock is expected to turn out at the event which will be attended by both Gibraltar Football Assocation (GFA) bigwigs and local dignitaries.

UEFA President Michel Platini declared the vote ‘overwhelming’ at London’s Grosvenor Hotel on Friday as Gibraltar became the association’s 54th member.

Spanish opposition had tried to block the bid, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport found in favour of Gibraltar, paving the way for its welcome into European football.

However, Platini confirmed that Gibraltar will not be allowed to draw Spain in qualifying for Euro 2016 and cited Armenia and Azerbaijan as another example of teams kept apart for political reasons.

GFA president Gareth Latin declared, “This is one of our greatest ever sporting moments and a momentous occasion for football in Gibraltar.

“We can show the whole of Europe that we can match the best and it will open up a world of opportunities for our young footballers.”

Meanwhile back in Gibraltar in Casemates Square large crowds, dressed in patriotic red and white reacted euphorically at the news.

Gibraltar has one of the oldest football associations in the world and for 120 years football has been an important part of the enclave’s life.

The GFA is already developing ambitious designs for a new, world-class stadium to meet FIFA standards.

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