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FIFA clears Zeneli to play for Kosovo

Kosovo
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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Kosovo players remain in limbo after FIFA delay allegiance decision

The region of Kosovo in southeastern Europe welcomed a new ruling by football's world governing body FIFA to allow International Friendlies.

The international future of nine players remains in the balance after FIFA delayed a decision on their eligibility to play for Kosovo.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and were officially recognised as a member of FIFA in May, with a number of players since seeking to switch allegiance to feature for the new national team.

The country's first competitive game is coming up on Monday against Finland in a World Cup qualifier, but world football's ruling body have yet to authorise the unnamed players' requests to change national allegiance.

Kosovo fans are being made to wait before discovering the make-up of their new team.

FIFA revealed on Thursday that it had received a "series of requests for change of associations from the Football Federation of Kosovo."

Adding: "The various applications are currently pending and being investigated. As a result we are not in a position to further comment on them, nor to give an estimation of the time line.

"The specific circumstances of the matter at hand concerning the admission of a new member to FIFA and players potentially eligible to play for it appear not to be conclusively governed."

Albert Bunjaku -- who briefly appeared for Switzerland at the 2010 World Cup -- has already been cleared by FIFA to play for the new nation.

But the futures of a number of other Swiss internationals remain unclear, with Granit Xhaka reported to be one of those considering playing for Kosovo.

Kosovo have played friendly fixtures but are preparing for a first competitive international.

"The current situation suffers from the lack of clarity in regulations," a statement from the Swiss football association said. "The SFV wants this situation to end as soon as possible. Unfortunately UEFA and FIFA have not responded to these approaches.

"The SFV regrets the priority of the Kosovar directors has been in trying to recruit players for the next World Cup qualifiers instead of consolidating the foundations of their federation.

"This frantic search has put the players involved and sometimes their families in a very difficult situation. The SFV strongly condemns this slanderous and disrespectful way of proceeding."

Kosovo-born midfielder Perparim Hetemaj, who currently plays for Finland, has opted not to play in Monday's match between the two countries.

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