PRISTINA: Fadil Vokrri, the former Yugoslavia forward who later worked tirelessly to gain international football recognition for Kosovo in the teeth of Serb opposition, has died aged 67 writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Vokrri became president of the Kosovar federation and Aleksander Ceferin, president of European federation UEFA, paid tribute, saying: “We are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Fadil Vokrri.

Fadil Vokrri: one-time Yugoslav Player of the Year

“He was an outstanding footballer who enjoyed a most distinguished career, and became a football administrator and national association president of the highest calibre.

“Fadil was the key figure in Kosovo’s football development which led to the Football Federation of Kosovo becoming a member of UEFA in 2016. In the period since then, he had guided the association’s integration within UEFA with great skill and endeavour.

“On behalf of European football, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy to his family, the Football Federation of Kosovo and Kosovo’s football community.”


Vokrri was born on July 23, 1960 in Podujevo, a town 35km south of the Kosovo capital Pristina. He made his debut for his hometown KF Llapi then help led FC Prishtina into Yugoslavia’s top flight.

He was later transferred to Partizan in the former Yugoslavia before moving to Turkey’s Fenerbahçe. He also had a short spell in France as a player and coach and scored six goals in 12 appearance for Yugoslavia between 1984 and 1987.

At the 1984 Winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo, Vokrri was Yugoslavia’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremony and, in 1987, he was voted Footballer of the Year.

He became president of the Football Federation of Kosovo in 2008, and was re-elected twice, in 2012 and 2016.

In May 2016, in Vokrri’s third term, he was able to celebrate Kosovo’s admission to FIFA and then FIFA in the face of loudly-expressed opposition from not only Serbia but from the Swiss football federation which feared losing some of its best players back to Kosovo.

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