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Sports Court Rejects Serbia's Challenge To Kosovo's UEFA Membership

Two Kosovar players (in white) attempt to close down a Croatian forward during Kosovo's qualifying match for the 2018 World Cup last year.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has rejected an appeal by Serbia's soccer federation against Kosovo joining the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

The ruling on January 24 by the court in Lausanne, Switzerland, says 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.'"

In May 2016, European soccer federations voted 28 to 24 in favor of Kosovo's application, despite Serbian-led opposition to the move.

Serbia and its allies, including Russia, have not recognized Kosovo's independence from Serbia since officials in Pristina declared Kosovo's independence in 2008.

UEFA's decision led to Kosovo joining the world's governing body for soccer, FIFA, one week later.

Kosovo has also been fast-tracked into a 2018 World Cup qualifying group.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP