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UEFA grants Montenegro provisional membership, postpones decision on Gibraltar

UEFA grants Montenegro provisional membership, postpones decision on Gibraltar

Montenegro was granted provisional membership of UEFA on Thursday, while European soccer's governing body postponed a decision on Gibraltar's application following objections from Spain.
Montenegro, a Balkan republic of 620,000, gained independence after it split from Serbia in June. Both countries were part of the old Yugoslav federation, although Serbia succeeds the former Yugoslavia in UEFA's records and was not required to seek readmission.
Full membership, allowing participation in competitions such as the 2012 European Championship, can only be granted by UEFA's congress, which meets Jan. 26-27 in Duesseldorf, Germany.
UEFA executive officer Lars Christer Olsson said the body will examine documents submitted by Spain on the state of Gibraltar's soccer facilities before making a decision on the tiny British colony's application at the next meeting of the organization's executive committee on Dec. 7-8.
Gibraltar, situated off Spain's southernmost tip, has been a frequent source of tension between Britain and Spain, which claims sovereignty over the territory.
Spain is expected to seek support from UEFA members in opposing full membership, arguing that UEFA's own statutes exclude Gibraltar, because the British colony does not have individual representation at the United Nations.
Spain had UEFA change its rules in 1999 so that members were U.N.-recognized states. Gibraltar's original application predates this change and the soccer association hopes to avoid exclusion.
The Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, or CAS, ruled last month in favor of Gibraltar's petition for provisional membership of UEFA.
A rocky territory where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean, Gibraltar has a population of around 29,000 and sends teams to the Commonwealth Games but does not have a recognized National Olympic Committee.


Updated : 2021-04-21 00:54 GMT+08:00