FIFA allows Kosovo to play friendlies, Serbia protests
The International Football Federation (FIFA) allowed Tuesday the Kosovo national team to play friendly matches, however, the country cannot yet play qualifiers for world and European championships.
Until now, FIFA and UEFA have not recognised Kosovo's national team or allowed Kosovo football clubs to play matches under Kosovo's flag. However, the umbrella organisation FIFA has made a step forward and approved Kosovo's long-running attempt to play international friendlies, although eight UEFA representatives voted against the decision at a session of the executive committee in Budapest.
"The Executive Committee has given its approval for FIFA member associations to play friendly matches with the Football Federation of Kosovo in accordance with art. 79 of the FIFA Statutes," FIFA said in a statement, adding that this was not the recognition of Kosovo's independence but the recognition that football is played in the country.
The Serbian Football Federation has sent a letter to FIFA protesting against its latest decision in the strongest terms. The Serbian Football Federation has asked for an urgent meeting with FIFA and UEFA leaders Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, saying that the decision was unfair and warning that it could have long-term consequences for the entire region. The Serbian federation asked that the decision be revoked immediately.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, however, it is not yet a member of the United Nations. So far, 90 countries, including Croatia, have recognised Kosovo's independence.