Football: Kosovo to play first FIFA international

Kosovo will play its first ever international football match under the auspices of FIFA against Haiti, the Football Federation of Kosovo (FFK) announced on Wednesday.

The match will go ahead on March 5 in Mitrovica.

"This is the first international match authorised by FIFA, Kosovo is not a member of FIFA," Jerome Champagne, a FIFA presidential candidate and an advisor to the FFK told AFP.

Despite the sensitive political status of Kosovo, Champagne said the match would not cause any political ramifications.

"The Serbian federation has accepted that Kosovo can play friendly matches," said Champagne. "A total of 107 countries, members of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund or FIFA have already recognised (Kosovo), including Haiti."

Kosovo has already played non-recognised friendlies against Malta and Monaco.

On January 13, the emergency committee of FIFA, gave Kosovo's national team the green light to play matches following lobbying from the FFK's president, Fadil Vokkri.

Among those who play for Kosovo include two players from the Italian Serie A side Chievo, the goalkeeper Samir Ujkani and midfielder Perparim Hetemaj.

Despite being recognised by the United States and the European Union, Kosovo's political status is still disputed.

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and has been recognised by more than 100 countries, including the United States and a majority of the EU states.