Kosovo named as UEFA's 55th member

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Football News

After an anxious wait, Kosovo has been accepted by UEFA as their 55th member after the annual congress voted 28-24 in their favour, two votes were considered invalid.

The former territory of Serbia declared their independence in 2008, and after a struggle to persuade UEFA that they were an independent nation for seven years, the congress has granted them the opportunity to compete in European competitions starting this year.

Now they have received recognition from UEFA, they are eligible to apply for a FIFA license, and if it is granted, they can compete in World Cup qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup, held in Russia.


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However, is this a good decision made by UEFA? As Tomoslav Karadzic, Serbian FA President, stated before the vote: 'This is a political, not a footballing proposal. We must say no to politics, no to divisions that are maybe detrimental.'

The Serbian national team's fans have a history of crowd trouble and hooliganism during international games against their local rivals Montenegro, Greece and Albania, so the inclusion of Kosovo might not spell good signs for competitive derby matches between the two given their historical conflicts away from the football pitch.

Alternatively, the Kosovan ambassador for the United Kingdom and Ireland, Lirim Greicevci tweeted:

A player who will be ecstatic over the decision made today is Adnan Januzaj as the Manchester United ace will now be given the opportunity to change his allegiance from Belgium due to his family connections in Kosovo.

The 21-year-old has struggled to get international appearances for Belgium due to their broad options of world class players, so an intelligent switch to play for Kosovo could see him in a different light as he would be guaranteed game time for a country with a limited group of professional players.

Watford and ex-West Ham midfielder, Valon Behrami, Stoke City winger Xherdan Shaqiri and Borussia Mönchengladbach defensive midfielder, Granit Xhaka are all of Kosovan descent but decided to emigrate and play for Switzerland so will not be eligible to switch.

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Valon Behrami
Premier League
World Cup
Manchester United

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