Kosovo joins UEFA — Gibraltar closer to FIFA membership

The Football Federation of Kosovo (FFK) was admitted as the 55th member association of UEFA with immediate effect after a vote at the 40th Ordinary UEFA Congress in Budapest. In September 2015 at a UEFA Executive Committee meeting in Malta, UEFA had approved the request from the federation to the admission in UEFA to the Ordinary Congress.

A simple majority was needed for the FFK to become a member and it received 28 votes in favour, with 24 votes against and two invalid votes cast.

Kosovo had declared independence from Serbia in February 2008 as the Republic of Kosovo. While Serbia recognises administration of the territory by Kosovo’s elected government, it still continues to claim it as its own Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija.

Meanwhile the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued its decision in the appeal arbitration procedure between the Gibraltar Football Association (GFA) and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). The GFA’s appeal against the decision issued by the FIFA Executive Committee on 26 September 2014 is partially upheld to the extent that the FIFA Executive Committee is ordered to transmit the Gibraltar Football Association’s application for FIFA membership to the FIFA Congress, which shall take all necessary measures to admit the Gibraltar Football Association as a full member of FIFA without delay.

The GFA has sought for twenty years to become a member of UEFA and FIFA. In May 2013, as a result of a CAS arbitration, it became a member of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and went on to seek membership of FIFA. On 26 September 2014, the FIFA Executive Committee informed the GFA that the requirements for admission to FIFA were not met and that it would not submit the GFA’s application to the FIFA Congress, which is the body authorised to admit new members to FIFA. The GFA filed an appeal against such decision at the CAS, arguing that FIFA improperly rejected its application and that the CAS should directly award it with FIFA membership.

In fact although they took part in the European Qualifiers leading to EURO 2016, they could not be included in the qualifiers leading to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.