Since Spain drew the lot with Kosovo, a country not recognized by it, in the European qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, the meeting scheduled between them today, Wednesday, has taken on a diplomatic dimension.
While Kosovo, the former Serbian province with an Albanian majority, considers this match a form of recognition of its independence, Madrid stresses that it is just a simple “sporting event”.
Spain refuses to recognize Kosovo, because the Iberian state, which faces strong opposition from the region of Catalonia, calls for secession from Spain, and fears that the Kosovo experience will be repeated on its soil.
The controversy arose between the two countries after the Spanish Football Association published the calendar for the “La Roja” qualifying matches for the Qatar World Cup, in which Greece, Georgia and the “Kosovo region” wrote.
The naming of the “Territory” angered the Kosovo Game Federation, responding in a statement that “Kosovo is an independent country” and threatening not to compete in the match if he was not allowed to raise his country’s flag and play the national anthem.
Things did not stop there, as the Serbian capital, Belgrade, entered the line, expressing its dissatisfaction with the recognition by the European Federation of Football Associations “UEFA” and the international “FIFA” since 2016 of Kosovo as a full-fledged country, while it still considers it an integral part of its territory.
Although Kosovo announced its secession from Serbia in 2008, countries such as Spain and Greece that play in the same group, or China and Russia, do not recognize it.