BERNE (Reuters) – Gibraltar were included in the draw for a European football competition for the first time on Wednesday, two months after being admitted as provisional members of UEFA.
The tiny British colony were drawn against England, Armenia and Ireland in the qualifying competition for the 2014 European under-17 championship and against Croatia, Czech Republic and Cyprus in the under-19 championship qualifiers.
UEFA’s executive committee agreed to admit Gibraltar in October, despite opposition from Spain, and the two were kept apart in both draws.
A decision on whether to grant full membership to the colony, which has a population of 28,000, and to allow it to become UEFA’s 54th member will be taken by the Congress in London next May.
Gibraltar’s case has been strengthened by a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling last year that UEFA have to consider its membership.
Spain still claims sovereignty over Gibraltar after it was ceded to Britain under the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht.
An official edict to all sports federations in Spain says they should block any membership application from organisations in Gibraltar.
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Clare Fallon)
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