The GFA has issued the following statement today “The Gibraltar FA is delighted at the outcome of our appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in relation to our FIFA membership application
“CAS has ruled that FIFA has to take all the necessary steps to admit Gibraltar, without further delay, and as a result the Gibraltar FA will begin working with FIFA to make this happen.
“This is yet another momentous occasion for the whole of Gibraltarian football and we look forward to taking our place at the home of world football.”
In a media release by CAS today it states:-
“CAS UPHOLDS THE APPEAL FILED BY THE GIBRALTAR FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION REGARDING ITS REQUEST TO BECOME A FULL MEMBER OF FIFA
Lausanne, 2 May 2016 – 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 twenty years to become a member of UEFA and FIFA. In May 2013, as a result 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. ”
The 66th FIFA Congress takes place in Mexico City on 12 and 13 May in which the agendas have already been published. The latest details published of agenda includes the a vote on Kosovo’s entry which is expected to take place after it is approved into UEFA as a member. Although the World Cup qualifier groups for UEFA have already been decided two groups continue with just five teams, whilst others have six, allowing for both Kosovo and Gibraltar to be entered into the group stages without increasing the number of teams per group beyond the six.
News of the CAS decision saw a quick reaction on social media, recently selected goalkeeper to the national squad Goldwyn wrote, “Huge news for gibraltarian football”.
Robert Montovio who recently played for Gibraltar in the last two friendly internationals told CoreSportGib “Very very excited hope I can be part of the national team and experience it.”
Local women’s footballer Stacey Rowbottom reacting to the news commented to CoreSportGib, “great news, especially for women’s football as its even more opportunities open to us and the ever developing younger girls.”
The Government of Gibraltar has also made the following statement – “Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar congratulates the Gibraltar Football Association for its success in its action against FIFA in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
FIFA has been ordered to admit the GFA immediately.
The Government hopes that this will be done in time to the GFA to play in the qualifiers for the next World Cup.
The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP, said: “This is truly magnificent news which everyone will want to welcome. We fought to join UEFA and won. We have had to fight to join FIFA and we’ve won that battle too. All credit to the GFA and in particular Michael Llamas QC! Now let’s look forward to playing in the next World Cup qualifiers!”
The Government will say more when the full judgment of the CAS is released, later this week. ”
In a comprehensive article in the Gibraltar Chronicle’s online site GFA officials have told the local daily newspaper that ““The objective now is to be able to obtain FIFA membership at the FIFA congress in Mexico City on May 13,” the article goes further to report that “The GFA is working round the clock in order to achieve this.” The article, which provides one of the most detailed reports on the latest decision can be read at http://chronicle.gi/2016/05/fifa-must-admit-gibraltar-without-delay-court-rules/
Ironically the news was received on a day when Gibraltar’s sporting facilities were all closed due to a bank holiday, with the football season just two weeks from finishing for the summer and on the same weekend that Lincoln Red Imps the team that has gone further in its European campaign once again won the league and will be looking at repeating their last feat of passing the very first preliminary round of the Champion preliminary qualifiers. As one footballer said, “there is a lot of work to be done now” for Gibraltar to move further in its development once FIFA approves its membership, which many hope will be within the next two weeks.