British territory Gibraltar will find out this week if their application to be considered an independent footballing nation has been accepted.
UEFA will reportedly vote in the run-up to the weekend’s Champions League Final in London on whether or not the small island located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula can be included as a 54th member.
Spain have opposed previous and unsuccessful votes in 1999 and 2007 for the territory that they lay claim to being recognised as an independent footballing state, whilst UEFA rules stipulate that membership must be only for sovereign states recognised as such by the United Nations.
The Guardian report though that Court of Arbitration for Sport rulings in 2007 and 2011 have said that UEFA cannot exclude Gibraltar on those grounds, as the membership requirement was brought in only after the territory’s initial application.
Should Gibraltar be granted entry, then they can put Gibraltarian clubs into the Champions League and Europa League from the 2014-15 season, whilst a national team would be eligible to take part in the 2016 European Championship qualifiers.
Spain’s opposition to the island’s membership is reportedly based on the fear that it will set a precedent that other states in Spain such as Catalonia and the Basque Country may want to follow in the future.