By Andrew Warshaw
September 29 – The channel island of Jersey has won a partial victory in its bid to become a UEFA member, in the process giving European football’s governing body another unwanted headache over its admittance policy.
A crown dependency of Britain with a population of around 100,000, Jersey believe they have just as strong a case as the likes of new UEFA members Gibraltar and Kosovo and went to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) when their case was thrown out by UEFA last year on the grounds that Jersey was not recognised as an ‘independent state’ by the United Nations.
Jersey subsequently challenged the way their bid to join Europe’s elite was rejected and CAS has now ruled that its application must be put to the full congress of UEFA’s 55 member federations, meaning the island’s status could go to a vote in Bratislava in February next year.
“The competent body for the consideration of membership applications is the UEFA Congress and not the UEFA executive committee,” a CAS statement said, “This is the reason why the appeal is partially upheld and that JFA’s application must be forwarded to the UEFA Congress for decision.”
UEFA have been at pains to stop the flow of applications from protectorates and tiny partially autonomous regions in order to bring some common sense to membership. But CAS were instrumental in Gibraltar’s long and ultimately successful fight for UEFA and FIFA membership after the British Overseas Territory had a series of applications denied.
Significantly, however, CAS dismissed Jersey’s request for UEFA to “take all necessary measures to admit the Jersey Football Association as a full member without delay”, ruling that “on the basis of the evidence provided” Jersey does not fulfil the requirements of Article 5(1) of the UEFA statutes.
This states that membership of UEFA is “open to national football associations situated in the continent of Europe, based in a country which is recognised by the United Nations as an independent state, and which are responsible for the organisation and implementation of football-related matters in the territory of their country.”
Should UEFA members approve Jersey’s admittance, which is highly unlikely, the island’s part-time domestic league champions and runners-up would technically be able to enter qualification for European club competitions.
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