by Gabby Barker
The match between the Spanish National Team and Kosovo on March 31 at the La Cartuja Stadium in Seville will be played despite the fact that on Tuesday the Kosovar federation threatened not to appear if the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) refused to put its anthem and its flag as dictated by the protocols of matches between teams. The Kosovar federation itself announced yesterday that it will be played and that, as dictated by FIFA regulations, it will be able to display a flag and anthem during the match.
“The president (of the federation) Agim Ademi received a call today from the Spanish Football Federation. In it, the RFEF regrets the news that appeared in the local media and confirms that the Spain-Kosovo match will take place according to the regulations and the FIFA and UEFA protocol for official matches, “the Kosovo federation reported yesterday in a statement.
Kosovo, which unilaterally declared its independence in 2008, is not recognized as a ‘state’ by the Spanish Government and for this reason, the federation’s channels have referred to the rival of the National Team as ‘territory’ instead of ‘nation’ or ‘state’, prompting the Kosovars to launch their threat.
RFEF sources reported this Wednesday that “as always, the FIFA and UEFA regulations will be complied with, in the terms in which the Minister of Foreign Affairs pointed out the day”, reason why the game was not in danger at any time. The position of the Foreign Ministry is clear: treat and respect the Kosovo federation like so many others that play international tournaments and that are not recognized as countries such as, for example, Gibraltar. “They are the rules of FIFA, they are not those of international law regarding the recognition of states. That is why in FIFA there are competitors such as the Faroe Islands, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Gibraltar, who are not states and we play against them with those rules, ”explained Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya a few months ago. When Spain has faced the teams of these federations, their anthem always sounded and their flag was glimpsed, so against Kosovo, too.
A day after it became known that Kosovo would be Spain’s rival in the qualifying phase for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, González Laya herself assured that, despite not recognizing Kosovo as a ‘state’, this did not imply that Spain did not participate in the same sports tournaments: “We have done it at the 2018 Mediterranean Games and at the U21 Handball World Cup.”