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Gibraltar handed UEFA membership

After years of campaigning with European football's authorities, the British Overseas Territory has been granted permission to compete on the international stage

Gibraltar has been accepted as a full member of UEFA, meaning that the territory will be entered into qualification for Euro 2016.

It was announced on Friday that the island territory has had its application approved meaning the British Overseas Territory will compete in UEFA tournaments as of 2014.

As relations are still contentious between Spanish and British governments over who should have full control of the territory the approval of Gibraltar, UEFA has promised to keep Spain and Gibraltar apart in the qualifying stages of the next European Championship.

"Gibraltar will not play qualifying matches with Spain - we also have this situation with Armenia and Azerbaijan," UEFA president Michel Platini told the press.

The Gibraltar FA president was naturally delighted that Europe's governing body has voted in favor of its inclusion and predicted a bright future for football in the tiny sovereignty.

"This is a momentous occasion for football in Gibraltar. UEFA membership means that we can begin the next chapter of Gibraltarian football," Gareth Latin told reporters.

"At last we'll be able to show the whole of Europe that we can match the best with football of a high standard and entertaining style.

"It will open up a whole new world of opportunities for our highly skilled young footballers. This is one of our greatest ever sporting moments and, of course, we'd like to thank everyone who helped with our bid and all those who voted for us. We couldn't have made it without you."

Gibraltar, which has a population of just under 30,000, tried to join UEFA in 2007 but had its application rejected where it only received three votes, with Spain acting as one of the fiercest opponents.

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