ZURICH - Uefa's executive committee will reconsider Gibraltar's controversial request for Uefa membership this week in the face of strong opposition from the Spanish football association.
The committee had been expected to approve Gibraltar's provisional membership at its last meeting in Ljubljana last month in line with a directive from the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). It delayed its decision after new documents relating to the application were submitted by the Spanish.
The British overseas territory, whose sovereignty is the subject of a dispute with Spain, has been fighting for an officially recognised football association since 1999.
Should Uefa award provisional membership to the territory following the committee's next round of discussions yesterday and today, the question of full membership would still have to be put before the Uefa congress in January.
In July CAS ordered the committee "to admit the Gibraltar Football Association to provisional membership of Uefa at its next meeting."
Having failed to do so in October, Uefa now runs the risk of being in violation of a CAS ruling - an uncomfortable position for an organisation that has previously promoted the Lausanne court as the supreme body for the settlement of all sports-related disputes.
Although it has instructed the executive committee to grant provisional membership to Gibraltar, the CAS ruling stopped short of ordering full membership.
The court said, however, that the congress should decide on the territory's application "on the basis of the rules applicable at the time of the initial request ... and excluding the application of the rules introduced subsequently."
Uefa had originally declined Gibraltar's request because of a rule in Uefa's statutes stating that membership could be granted only to countries recognised by the United Nations as independent states. The rule was introduced in 2001- two years after Gibraltar first filed its application. - Reuters