- Associated Press - Thursday, February 12, 2015

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) - Gibraltar will go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in May to fight to join FIFA and enter 2018 World Cup qualifying.

The Gibraltar Football Association’s appeal will be heard from May 21-22 to challenge FIFA’s refusal to grant membership, the court said on Thursday.

The hearing is scheduled one week before the FIFA Congress, which must approve new members.

Gibraltar could be accepted on May 29 as FIFA’s 210th member, then enter the World Cup qualifying draw on July 25 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

It is unclear if an urgent verdict will be given. If the court panel rules in Gibraltar’s favor, FIFA and its members would likely also have to allow Gibraltar a seat at the congress in Zurich.

“FIFA is not in a position to comment, nor can we make statements about potential scenarios,” the governing body said in a statement.

Gibraltar officials have previously said they felt FIFA was treating them like a “pariah state.”

FIFA rejected Gibraltar’s application last September because the British territory was not an independent country as required by the governing body’s statutes.

Those rules were updated in 2013, two months before Gibraltar joined UEFA despite longstanding opposition led by Spanish football leaders.

Spain disputes sovereignty of the territory it ceded to Britain more than 300 years ago.

Gibraltar needed an earlier CAS ruling to join UEFA and take part in its competitions.

In its debut campaign, Gibraltar is last in its 2016 European Championship qualifying group, which includes Germany and Poland. It has lost all four games, conceding 21 goals without scoring.

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