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Page last updated at 08:24 GMT, Wednesday, 10 September 2008 09:24 UK

Weir hopes event helps Uefa bid

Ricky Weir
JFA president Ricky Weir hopes the event will help his Uefa bid

Jersey FA president Ricky Weir says he hopes a tournament that involves Gibraltar and Madeira will help the island's bid to join Uefa.

Jersey have previously been ruled out of playing internationals because they are not an independent nation.

But the JFA is hoping that the event beginning on 8 November will help show Uefa what the island is capable of.

"We're looking to tick every box we can to have ammunition to go back to the authorities," Weir told BBC Jersey.

Gibraltar are in an ongoing legal battle to try and join Uefa after being granted a provisional place by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2006.

However the Uefa congress voted against giving membership to the island the following year.

"They're in the same position as Jersey as they don't have competitive international football," said Weir.

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"They still have an ongoing legal case as they filed their application before Uefa changed the rules on membership," he added.

Uefa changed its rules in 1999 so that states not recognised by the United Nations could not be given membership.

It means that some teams, such as the Faroe Islands, whose applications were accepted before the rule change, can play in World Cup and European Championship qualifiers, while others like Gibraltar and Jersey cannot.

"Gibraltar are certainly on the cusp of Uefa and with being reigning Island Games champions they're probably one of the strongest small nations outside Uefa that we can play," said Weir.

Jersey has been accepted as an international nation in other sports such as bowls and cricket.

The island side will play in the World Cricket League's Division Four tournament in Tanzania next month and have beaten sides such as the USA, Germany and Italy.

"The ICC are clearly embracing and wanting to grow and they're encouraging small nations. Uefa feel they've got what they want and have shut the door," said Weir.

We hope there's far more implications off the field with the interest that other bodies take

Jersey FA President Ricky Weir

"It's like two nightclubs in town. There's the established one where you have to be on the guest list to get in and the one down the road giving out flyers and free drinks."

The addition of a Madeiran team will add spice to the tournament.

Over 10% of Jersey's population is of Portuguese descent, with most of them tracing their roots back to Madeira.

"They're a bit of an unknown," said Weir. "They have an under-23 side, but we're not putting any age limit on it.

"They have clubs in the Portuguese professional leagues so their pro players would not be available to play.

"The draw has pitched Madeira and Jersey on Sunday afternoon so we will have a fantastic crowd on that day."

And while Weir wants the event at Springfield to be a success on the field, he is aware that its importance off the field could be even greater.

"We hope there's far more implications off the field with the interest that other bodies take and that it's another notch in the ladder of presenting our case."

see also
JFA to host small nations event
28 Jul 08 |  Football
Jersey clinch England XI friendly
05 Sep 08 |  Football
Jersey boys suffer Scotland loss
27 Aug 08 |  Football
Gibraltar fail to get Uefa place
26 Jan 07 |  Internationals
Gibraltar close in on Uefa place
08 Dec 06 |  Internationals
Facelift for Jersey Combination
25 Jul 08 |  Football

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