GIBRALTAR’S national football squad does not meet the requirements to join FIFA’s community of international teams, according to the association’s President, Sepp Blatter.
Speaking at a meeting of FIFA’s executive committee in Zurich on September 26, Blatter said that Gibraltar did not qualify as a legitimate international side under FIFA’s regulations.
He said: “The football association of Gibraltar cannot be accepted as a member of FIFA, according to article 10 of the FIFA statutes.
“The applicant must organise and supervise football in one country, being an independent state, according to the FIFA statutes.”
Said statutes say that a team must originate from an independent state and be recognised by the international community as a whole.
Gibraltar, as an overseas British territory, does not qualify according to FIFA’s rules: despite being accepted to play at international level under Europe’s leading football body, UEFA.
Gibraltar fought for 14 years against continual protests from the Spanish football association to gain entry to UEFA.
Earlier this month Gibraltar played in its first ever competitive international match, losing 0-7 to Poland in a Euro 2016 qualifier held in Portugal.
FIFA’s decision not to accept Gibraltar into their ranks means that the team will be unable to compete in World Cup 2018 qualifiers, which begin in 2016.