Uefa to visit Jersey to discuss international football application

Jersey celebrate
Jersey celebrate a goal against their biggest rivals Guernsey, who have a club side that play in the English league system

Uefa is set to visit Jersey in the next few weeks as the Channel Island bids to become an international footballing nation.

Jersey submitted a bid to leave the the English FA and join Uefa last December.

A delegation from Uefa is expected to come to the island after the body's annual congress later this month.

"We're pleased they're coming and it gives us an opportunity to show them what we've got," Jersey FA president Phil Austin told BBC Radio Jersey.

But Austin says the process for joining Uefa will be a slow one, with rules stating that new members must be an independent country, recognised by the United Nations, a major stumbling block.

"We do not expect them to come over and say 'yes everything's great you're in'," Austin said.

"There are certain stages that our application will go through and I think, being frank, if you asked them now if we meet their criteria for membership, they'd say no, because they maintain you've got be an independent state as recognised by the United Nations and we are not one of those.

"But neither are some of their current members, but they got in before the rules changed, Gibraltar forced their way in but they changed the rule now so it doesn't happen again."

Other 'non-nations' playing international football
Gibraltar - a British Overseas TerritoryAnguilla - a British Overseas Territory
Faroe Islands - a self-governing country within DenmarkAruba - an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Bermuda - a British Overseas TerritoryMontserrat - a British Overseas Territory
Puerto Rico - a self-governing Commonwealth in association with the USNew Caledonia - a French overseas territory

However, Kosovo are set to join Uefa and play in qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup, despite not being recognised by the UN, although the territory declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

"We're looking at Kosovo very clearly, we're looking at how that progresses and the implications of them getting membership," added Austin.

"My own view is that from a footballing argument we do tick all the boxes.

"If you look at Gibraltar, there are 30,000 people there and until recently they only had one football pitch.

"We're miles ahead of them in terms of football and football development, but it's this political hurdle that we're going to have to get over."

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