Dear Uefa member, here’s the score . . .
THE Jersey Football Association have urged Uefa members to vote against the advice of their superiors in Slovakia next week, in an open letter sent to all 55 countries.
Just five days before European football’s leading figures meet in Bratislava for their annual Ordinary Congress, JFA president Phil Austin has written to the nations who will vote on whether to accept the Island’s bid to play international football.
Giants including England FA and the German FA have already suggested they will vote against the bid – possibly to prevent their substantial central funding being diluted. However, there could be support from the likes of minnows Gibraltar and the Faroe Islands, whose votes have equal weighting.
In 2015/16 member associations received up to 1.6 million euros from Uefa’s central pot to aid the development of the game, in addition to a 3 million euro ‘solidarity’ payment for 2012-2016.
Uefa’s executive committee has stressed that Jersey does not meet independency criteria set out for membership [Article 5], as the Island is not recognised by the majority of the United Nations. But there remains hope at Springfield that alterations – or indeed exceptions – can be made.
‘I recognise that the Uefa executive will advise Congress that Jersey does not meet the eligibility criteria,’ said Austin in the letter.
‘However, you, as a member, have the discretion to vote in favour of our application.
‘I sincerely hope that you will feel able to support our application. If you feel that Article 5 prohibits that, I would urge you to seek an amendment to it.’
Austin is due to appear on stage in the Slovakian capital on Monday morning, having been allocated five minutes for a final plea.
In an attempt to quash political reservations he is expected to highlight the fact that one of Uefa’s core values is ‘Football First’ – before being asked to leave the Congress hall during the vote.
The letter is published in full in Wednesday's JEP.
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