ZURICH: Serb football officials appear to be putting a brave face on what, for them, was a disappointing outcome to hastily-arranged talks with FIFA over Kosovo writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

On Monday of last week the world federation’s executive committee decided to overrule UEFA – and Serb – objections and allow teams from Kosovo to play friendly matches against sides from nations which recognise the state which declared independence from Serbia four years ago.

The UEFA freeze on Kosovar football had been endorsed by president Michel Platini but he and other UEFA delegates were outvoted.

Angry reaction in Serbia persuaded FIFA to summon FSS leaders to Zurich. They had hoped to be told that the decision could be reversed. However they appear to have left empty-handed and with only the possibility of trying to place as many obstacles as possible in the way of the process.

A statement issued to Serb national news agency Tanjug contained an expression of  satisfaction ‘only’ that the FIFA decision did not signal the prospect of admitting Kosovo to FIFA and/or UEFA membership any time soon.

Tanjug reported: “The Football Federation of Kosovo will not be admitted to membership of UEFA and FIFA and talks will be resumed about the possibility of its national team playing friendly matches, it was decided at today’s meeting at FIFA headquarters in Zurich. ”

Serb federation president Tomislav Karadzic said: “Once again we had an excellent reception and understanding from the FIFA president, his associates and all other conference participants . . . The participants discussed the possibilities to enable Kosovo to play friendly matches.

“The FFS delegation informed the authorities about the harmful consequences of such decisions for Serbian football and the entire region.”

The intention of FIFA to stand by its original decision was underlined by the presence at the meeting of president Sepp Blatter and secretary-general Jerome Valcke. The FSS was represented by Karadzic, vice-president Ivan Curkovic and general secretary Zoran Lakovic.

Coincidentally Curkovic and Platini were team-mates at French club Saint-Etienne in the early 1980s.

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