Update: Brusselsblogger went into the trouble to question ALDE on the matter (original post in quote further below). It seems that in the effort to make the pages of the press, ALDE left out some important details. The very fact that there is interaction between this sphere of blogging and the political spectrum is a very important step, which is often needed to correct misconceptions (admittedly like mine).
As Brusselsblogger commented-
This is the answer from ALDE press officer (so, if one wants to see it from a more positive side it means ALDE has just highlighted the more interesting sports aspects in its press release and left out the boring official visits part)
“The football match you are referring to is part of an official visit to
Gibraltar taking place from 12 to 14 November 2008.
This is the first visit of the ALDE Bureau to Gibraltar whose residents
were only allowed to vote in EP elections in 2004. During the visit the
MEPs will meet government ministers, party leaders and representatives of the civil society.
The football match is just one segment of the visit and was meant to
highlight the fact that Gibraltar is subjected to discrimination because
of Spanish sovereignty claims.”
Translation of press release below: A group of 14 MEPs will be travelling (probably first class) to Gibraltar and back, with what will probably be an overnight stay at a 5 star hotel, a few gourmet meals, etc etc etc, to play a game of football to show that UEFA should accept Gibraltar as a member. Also they have gone into the added expense of printing high-quality custom football jerseys so they can have a memento of this fine expirience.
Not that I think their cause is wrong; I just think that they should have more important things to do. If you want to get Gibraltar into UEFA, send a collectively signed letter…
Cost of getting a collectively signed letter sent to UEFA: 25 euro by courrier
Cost of playing football in Gibraltar with no expense spared: Approximately 50,000 euro
Knowing that you can do whatever the hell you want with taxpayers money: PRICELESS!
Liberal and Democrat (ALDE) Members of the European Parliament will be playing football Thursday against a team representing the Gibraltar Football Association (GFA) at the Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar.
The aim of the match is to drive home the point that the MEPs are more than happy to play against the GFA even though Europe’s governing body of football UEFA continues to ban Gibraltar’s participation in European competition.
It will be recalled that on instructions from the Spanish Government, the Spanish Football Federation has opposed the GFA’s application to join UEFA. Moreover, UEFA rules were changed after the GFA applied to join to ensure that only sovereign independent states could be admitted as members.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport has already ruled in two separate cases that the GFA’s application must be considered in the context of what UEFA rules were at the time the application was made, that under the said rules the GFA is entitled to membership of UEFA and that the Executive Committee of UEFA had not acted in accordance with its rules in dealing with the GFA’s application.
Graham Watson MEP, the Leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), has made strong representations to UEFA urging them to accept the GFA as members. Mr Watson is a UK Liberal Democrat MEP for the South West of England and Gibraltar and is leading the delegation of 14 MEPs from 13 different countries that will be in Gibraltar.
The MEPs have had football kits printed specially for the event.