FIFA has rejected the Gibraltar FA’s request to join the world’s footballing body after failing to recognise the British enclave as an independent territory.
Gibraltar were officially welcomed into UEFA – the European football governing body – last year and competed in their first competitive fixture in September against Poland in a Euro 2016 qualification game.
However, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said the ‘FA of Gibraltar cannot be accepted as a member of FIFA’ because it contravened the world governing body’s statutes regarding independent territories.
A spokesman for the Gibraltar FA said they ‘were not surprised’ by the decision and will now be taking the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
He said: “We are an UEFA member nation now and we will take it to the next stage – if you look at the history of our UEFA membership that’s the way it went as well.”
The news that they would not be eligible to qualify for the World Cup capped off an already bad week for the nation’s football association.
‘Tax issues’ in Portugal have ended their time in Faro, and again left the footballing minnows looking for a new home, with London tipped as a likely destination.
To make matters worse, the Gibraltar FA were left red-faced after attempting to coax Oldham Manager Lee Johnson out of retirement to play for the national side.
His swift dismissal to join the cause simply rubbed salt into the already gaping wounds of the Rock’s footballing body.