Baraclough: ‘Jersey deserve a Uefa chance'
NORTHERN IRELAND under-21 boss Ian Baraclough has backed Jersey football’s bid for Uefa membership, claiming it ‘would mean the world to the Island’.
The Jersey FA have been in a battle with the European governing body for almost two years, as they attempt to join the international football ranks.
Island officials handed their application to the organisation’s headquarters in Geneva in December 2015 but they were forced to take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport [CAS] after Uefa’s initial rejection.
Last week the JFA had their appeal upheld by CAS, meaning Uefa must now take the application to congress for a vote from the current 55 member nations.
Baraclough, a former St Ouen’s and Star Trophy footballer, who was back in the Island this week to lead the Northern Ireland under-21s in a friendly at Springfield, believes Jersey deserve a place at Uefa’s top table.
‘I don’t see why Jersey shouldn’t be given a chance when you’ve got countries like Kosovo, and you’ve got Gibraltar, who have got lesser facilities than what this Island has got,’ said the former professional.
‘There’s a keen footballing population and I think it deserves [a place] … the bid that’s gone forward, I’ve spoken to the Jersey FA about it and what their plans are. To get that Uefa qualification would mean the world to this Island.
‘It could develop its younger players even further … there’s a good youth structure going on at the moment and I don’t see any reason why that can’t help in the bid going forward. It would improve football on the Island ten-fold.’