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FIFA grant Kosovo permission to play friendly matches
Jan 13, 2014 8:41 PM GMT
Kosovo have been authorised by FIFA to play international friendly matches, a ruling that also extends to club sides in the nation.
World football's governing body have considered the Balkan state's status since 2012 and, following the latest proposal from the Kosovan Football Association, have granted the country permission to play friendly fixtures.
Kosovo declared itself an independent state from Serbia in 2008, although the government of Serbia do still not recognise it as its own sovereign.
FIFA's ruling represents a breakthrough for Kosovo, but they will have adhere to certain conditions for fixtures to go ahead.
Any side representing the Kosovan FA will not be allowed to display national symbols such as flags or play national anthems, but will be permitted to display the name 'Kosovo' on their kits and equipment.
They will also only be allowed to play friendly matches, with no official or qualification games allowed while the state is not a member of FIFA.
Kosovo will also be unable to play any matches against representative teams or countries from the former Yugoslavia - Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia and Slovenia.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter expressed his pleasure following the decision, saying it represents a "major boost for football development in Kosovo" while also displaying the "extraordinary power of our sport to bring people together".
FIFA reserves the right will revoke the decision should Kosovo breach any of the agreements set in the ruling.
The state is also required to ensure the governing body is informed at least 21 days before any home fixtures go ahead.