FIFA still pondering Kosovo plea for player switch

Thu Sep 1, 2016 7:28am EDT
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By Brian Homewood

ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA is still considering a request from new members Kosovo to allow a number of players to switch national teams and represent them, world soccer's ruling body said on Thursday.

Kosovo, who play their first competitive international on Monday when they visit Finland in a World Cup qualifier, were accepted as members of FIFA and European football's governing body UEFA in May despite fierce opposition from Serbia.

FIFA told Reuters that it had received a "series of requests for change of associations from the Football Federation of Kosovo.

"The various applications are currently pending and being investigated. As a result we are not in a position to further comment on them, nor to give an estimation of the time line."

The Swiss federation (SFV) said its players with Kosovar roots had been put in "a very difficult situation" and criticized FIFA for failing to clarify the situation. Albania also have players with Kosovar roots.

Kosovo, who declared independence from Serbia in 2008, said on Wednesday they had made requests for nine players to switch national teams, without identifying them.

FIFA does not ordinarily allow players to switch national teams once they have represented one country in a competitive international.

However, the statement said it was not clear whether these rules were applicable if players wanted to change to a team that had not previously been a FIFA member.   Continued...

Raindrops flow down on a logo in front of FIFA's headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland June 8, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann