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FIFA under fire from Kosovo FA

FIFA under fire from Kosovo FA

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The head of the Kosovo Football Association (FFK) has accused football’s major governing bodies of double standards after FIFA delayed its approval of the country’s request to play international friendly matches.

The head of the Kosovo Football Association (FFK) has accused football’s major governing bodies of double standards after FIFA delayed its approval of the country’s request to play international friendly matches.

FIFA agreed in principle to allow Kosovo to play friendly games last May, but the global governing body has still not ratified the decision due to opposition from some quarters and now plans to discuss the issue at its next executive committee meeting in Tokyo in December. FFK president Fadil Vokkri said that FIFA’s stance was inconsistent with Monday’s ruling by UEFA to allow the British colony of Gibraltar to become a provisional member of the European governing body.

“We are extremely disappointed with the postponement by the FIFA executive committee of the decision on the modalities of the decision taken by the same body last May, authorising FIFA member associations to play friendly matches with teams and clubs from Kosovo,” Vokkri said in a statement released to Reuters. “We do not understand the reasons behind this, in particular when one sees the double standard shown by UEFA between the situation of Kosovo, recognised by 91 countries in the world… and the situation of Gibraltar, a non-independent territory recognised by no one with embryonic football. We are surprised by this difference of treatment in light of the obstruction we have been facing for years now.”

Only countries that are recognised by the United Nations can be accepted as members by FIFA and UEFA, but the latter agreed to admit Gibraltar provisionally following a ruling from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The FFK, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008 but has not yet won recognition from the UN, is not seeking membership in FIFA, but rather the right to take part in friendly matches. “Maybe the method adopted by the Gibraltar FA – going to CAS – should have been adopted by us,” Vokkri said. “We chose a realistic approach with sensible solutions based on football facts and we have not been heard.”