Sep 05, 2016

    Kosovo play historic first match


    DESPITE several potential players remaining in "limbo", Kosovo will make history today, playing their first-ever competitive match in a World Cup qualifier against Finland.

    Kosovo became the 210th member of Fifa in May but excitement ahead of the Balkans outfit's historic match has been marred by questions over who will be allowed to play for the team.

    According to Fifa's rules, someone who has played for another national team cannot normally switch allegiance.

    A number of Kosovo's potential players have had to apply individually for special permission - which is still awaited.

    "It is unprecedented as they played for other national teams while Kosovo was not a member of Fifa... Now, they should be given this opportunity like everyone else," said the head of Kosovo's football association Fadil Vokrri.

    "Fifa should allow a one-off exemption for Kosovo."

    A Fifa spokesman said the various applications "are currently pending and being investigated" but he could not give an estimation of how long the decision process would take.

    Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Belgrade in 2008 and remains unrecognised by several countries, including Serbia and Russia.