CAS rejects Serbia's challenge to Kosovo joining UEFA

ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 25, 2017 11:39 AM
CAS rejects Serbia's challenge to Kosovo joining UEFA
FILE- In this Thursday Oct. 6, 2016 file photo, Kosovo's national team pose for a group photo during World Cup Group I qualifying soccer match between Kosovo and Croatia at the Loro Borici Stadium in Shkoder, Albania. The Court of Arbitration for Sport has rejected, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, the Serbian soccer federation’s appeal against Kosovo winning membership of UEFA. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu, File)

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The Serbian soccer federation's appeal against Kosovo joining UEFA has been rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The court ruled that Kosovo met the standard of UEFA entry rules because it is "recognized by the majority of the United Nations member states as an 'independent state.'"

Serbia argued that Kosovo, which joined European soccer's governing body last May despite not being a U.N. member, should be blocked.

CAS decided that because "there is no formal recognition of countries by the U.N.," then acceptance of Kosovo's statehood by most countries was valid for the soccer application.

European soccer federations voted 28-24 in favor of Kosovo's entry to UEFA after Serbia led opposition to its former province.

Serbia and its allies, including Russia, have not recognized Kosovo since the Balkan republic declared independence in 2008.

UEFA's decision led to Kosovo joining FIFA one week later, and being fast-tracked into a 2018 World Cup qualifying group.

Still, Ukraine hosted Kosovo in neutral Poland in October, because its government also does not recognize Kosovo's statehood.

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