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Andalusian hockey clubs to challenge Spain’s Gibraltar hockey ban

Andalusian hockey clubs will call on the Junta de Andalucia and the regional hockey federation to challenge an edict from the Spanish Government banning them from contact with Gibraltar, the Chronicle understands.

The chairman of a major hockey club in Andalucía, who asked not to be named because of possible repercussions from the Spanish Government, claimed that the edict was ‘illegal’.

“Legally it is the Andalusian [regional] government which works autonomously and decides whether or not we can play against certain teams,” he told this newspaper.

“We want the same relationship that we have had for over 40 years with Gibraltar and we will try and move forwards via the Andalusian [regional] government.”

The development comes as the European Hockey Federation (EHF) told the Chronicle that it ‘supports’ and ‘fully encourages’ cross-border sporting relations, but is unable to intervene in political issues.

“Regarding political issues between two nations, where the national associations are playing their hockey matches, we do not have anything official to say [in respect of] the political will of a nation’s government,” said Angus Kirkland, EHF Director General.

“The EHF hopes the matter is resolved soon and Gibraltarian and Andalusian clubs continue to enjoy their traditional sporting friendship.”

Mr Kirkland also ‘categorically denied’ notifying the Spanish Hockey Federation (RFEH) of any matches involving Gibraltarian and Spanish clubs, which the RFEH claimed in a memo sent out to Andalusian clubs last month.

He said that, unfortunately, as it is a national measure imposed by Spain's Consejo Superior de Deportes on its sporting associations, it is outside of the remit of the EHF.


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