KEIR RADNEDGE in Budapest: FIFA president Sepp Blatter will meet leaders of the Serb football federation next month to explain why he overruled European federation UEFA in its stonewalling tactics to prevent development aid and assistance reaching Kosovo.

UEFA has resolutely blocked all pleas from the Kosovar federation for its representative and club teams to be allowed to play friendly matches against sides from the 90-plus nations who recognise Kosovo as an independent state – even if the United Nations has yet to do so because of Serb and Russian opposition.

FIFA had accepted the UEFA line until the start of this week when Blatter persuaded the executive committee to cleafr the way for Kosovar teams to play ‘cross-border’ friendlies. UEFA’s eight members on the 24-strong exco abstained.

Later the Serb federation issued a statement suggesting that Blatter and FIFA would reverse its decision but FIFA retaliated by publishing the text of an invitation to the Serbs to roll up in Zurich and have the facts of practical footballing life explained to them.

Text of the FIFA letter

Following the decision made by the FIFA Executive Committee on 21 May 2012 to allow the FIFA member associations to play international friendly games with teams of the Football Federation of Kosovo (FKK), which is not a member of FIFA, FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke sent a letter to Mr Tomislav Karadzic, President of the Serbia FA.

This letter states that “following repeated written requests from the Football Federation of Kosovo (FFK) over the last two years, the FIFA Executive Committee agreed during its meeting of 21 May 2012 to allow the FIFA member associations to play international friendly games with teams of the FFK, which is not a member of FIFA. This decision has been made on the basis of article 79 of the FIFA Statutes, which foresees the possibility that FIFA members may play against non-members (such as FFK) provided FIFA gives its authorization. It is to be noted that the European members of the FIFA Executive Committee abstained during the decision.

We would like to stress that the FIFA Executive Committee made clear that such authorization does not constitute a step towards FIFA membership, which depends on other considerations. In particular, and according to both the current and draft statutes of FIFA, as long as FFK is not a member of UEFA it cannot be a member of FIFA. The decision was intended purely to support the development of our sport.

As discussed today in Budapest, we would like to invite you to a meeting at the home of FIFA in Zurich on 31 May 2012 at 13 hours (1 pm), together with representative of the UEFA. In this meeting we will be able to discuss the implications of the decision and the modalities of its implementation. The conclusions of our meeting will then be submitted to the extraordinary meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee which is planned for 4 July 2012.”

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