The match between Spain and Kosovo on Wednesday has turned into a diplomatic row. Kosovo has threatened to boycott the match in Seville after Spanish Football Federation has described their opponent as a territory. Spanish management has assured that the match will go on as planned and according to the FIFA and UEFA rules.
Kosovo was a Serbian province and it declared independence in 2008. Most of the countries in the world recognize Kosovo as a free country but the political allies of Serbia i.e. China, Russia, Romania, Slovakia, Greece and Spain do not recognize Kosovo. According to Marca, Kosovo flag would not be displayed next to Spanish flag during the match and the anthem of Kosovo will be presented as “music donated by the territory of Kosovo”.
In the response the Football Federation of Kosovo has issued a statement that “Kosovo is an independent state”. They have also threatened that they will not play the game if they will not be allowed to use its flag and anthem. FFK also said that they will play only according to the strict criteria of UEFA i.e. with flag and anthem. Otherwise, the match will not be played.
On the other hand, Spanish Football Federation has agreed to use the anthem and national flag of Kosovo at the Wednesday’s match. But the diplomatic sources of Spain have said that this will not change Spain’s position not to acknowledge Kosovo as a state.
Earlier when the draw for the World Cup Qualifiers was made in December 2020, Kosovo was placed in Group A initially but then was displaced to Group B as Group A already contained Serbia. According to UEFA rules no two countries who are in political disputes are drawn in the same qualifying group. Other than Spain and Kosovo, Group B include Sweden, Georgia and Greece.
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