PRISTINA: Kosovo football president Fadil Vokkri is baffled at FIFA’s continued delay over implementing a formula allowing FFK teams to play friendly matches against teams from  beyond its borders writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The Kosovo issue, on which progress appeared to have been made when FIFA last May approved match contact, was brought starkly into focus last month when foreign-based Kosovar stars signed a petition urging  the world federation to move forward.

Last week’s FIFA executive committee, however, postponed a decision on the ‘modalities’ until its next meeting in Tokyo in December.

On Monday, however, European federation UEFA – under pressure from the Court of Arbitration for Sport – grudgingly approved the provisional membership application of Gibraltar.

That, for FFK president Vokkri, was the last straw.

He said: “We do not understand the reasons behind this in particular when one sees the double standard shown by UEFA between the situation of Kosovo recognized by 91 countries in the world, 22 of the 27 EU member states, the IMF and the World Bank, with football developed in a large scale and players from Kosovo playing for a lot of national teams, and the situation of Gibraltar a non-independent territory recognized by no one with embryonic football only.

“We are surprised by this difference of treatment in light of the obstruction we have been facing for years now. Maybe the method adopted by the Gibraltar FA – going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport – should have been adopted by us.

“We chose a realistic approach with sensible solutions based on football facts and we have not been heard.”

Gibraltar launched its original application for UEFA membership – in the teeth of angry, intimidatory opposition from Spain – before the European federation altered its statutes to shut the door to any territories which were not members of the United Nations.

CAS ruled on the basis of UEFA’s statutes at the time the GFA launched its original claim to membership.

The issue of Kosovo – which has never even applied for membership because of the UN clause – has arisen since the statutes alteration.

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