Kosovo hail 'historic moment' as country is admitted to UEFA as 55th member
By Associated Press Sport
Last Updated: 03/05/16 3:27pm
The Football Federation of Kosovo has been admitted as the 55th member association of UEFA with immediate effect following a vote at UEFA's Congress in Budapest.
The country could now be fast-tracked into FIFA and the 2018 qualifying campaign for the World Cup in Russia.
Fadil Vokrri, the former Yugoslavia striker who is Kosovo's football federation president, hailed the achievement as "historic"
"I thank you on behalf of all our staff, our coaches, our referees, our fans and of all young players in my country who have long dedicated their lives to football," he said.
"This is a historic moment and I make a pledge: I will defend football's values in a region that not very long ago was still ravaged by the scourge of war.
"We will work to to bring people together on the pitch and around the pitch. This is our vision for the future as the 55th member association of UEFA."
UEFA's member federations voted 28-24 to accept the former Yugoslavian province. Two votes were declared invalid.
Kosovo has sought international recognition through sports since declaring independence from Serbia in 2008.
UEFA supported Kosovo's case after resisting previous efforts by FIFA in 2012 to let its national and club teams play opponents from other countries.
Kosovo must now be accepted as a FIFA member before it can enter a World Cup qualifying group.
FIFA's ruling council meets in Mexico City on Monday and can send Kosovo's application for a decision by the FIFA congress four days later.