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News 14 Jun 13

FIFA Seeks Solution Over Kosovo Footballers

FIFA president Sepp Blatter to find a solution that would enable Kosovo football players to play official FIFA games.

Blic Belgrade

The head of world football’s governing body Sepp Blatter and Tomislav Karadzic, the president of Football Association of Serbia, met Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic on June 12 to discuss the problem of football players from Kosovo, who are currently not permitted to play officially-organised matches.

“I asked Prime Minister Dacic to find a solution, so we can enable young people in Kosovo to play football. Such a sensitive problem cannot be solved overnight, but step by step,” Blatter said after the meeting.

Karadzic said that a solution would be found as part of the political resolution of the dispute over Kosovo’s independence.

“Until the United Nations recognises Kosovo, it is clear that their national team cannot play official games, nor participate in major competitions,” said Karadzic.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Belgrade has refused to recognise it. As Kosovo is not a UN member state, it is not an official member of FIFA or UEFA. Its national team and Kosovo clubs cannot play in international competitions.

In May last year, FIFA decided to allow member associations to play friendly games with the national team of Kosovo. The decision was surprising because UEFA members represented in FIFA had voted against it.

FIFA Secretary-General Jérôme Valcke then sent a letter to the Football Association of Serbia explaining that the decision was made “following repeated written requests from the Football Federation of Kosovo over the last two years”.

He added that “such authorisation does not constitute a step towards FIFA membership, which depends on other considerations”.

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