Tag Archives: United Nations
The question of what constitutes a nation has occupied the attentions of historical figures as different as Mazzini and Muḥammad, but as a thought-provoking recent piece by the eminent (and eminently readable) journalist Keir Radnedge shows, the case of Kosovan football urges one to reconsider this riddle anew. Kosovo – a small, landlocked republic in south-eastern Europe with a population of 1.825 million people – issued its most recent declaration of independence from Serbia on 17th February 2008. Its independence promulgation was a legally contentious one as some states – particularly those with unsolved territorial issues of their own – reasoned that it set an uncomfortable precedent in this context; hence, international recognition of the Republic of Kosovo has proceeded in a piecemeal fashion.
Presently, Kosovo is not a United Nations member, which, as Radnedge points out, means that FIFA and UEFA membership is also out of the question for the time being: these organisations currently stipulate that membership of the UN is a precondition for, in turn, joining them. However, numerous countries which are not UN members are nonetheless members of world football’s two most notable international federations, including England, Wales and the Faroe Islands; further afield, Hong Kong and Macau – both special administrative regions of the PRC – freely compete in tournaments such as the FIFA World Cup as members of the Asian Football Confederation (‘AFC’).
This inconsistency hardly seems fair on Kosovo, or indeed any other nation which may find itself in a similar position in the future; moreover, the fact that one or more of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – effectively wields a veto on FIFA membership can be interpreted as little other than an anachronistic flaw in the process.
Mediolana has the following suggestion to transcend the impasse, which is effectively a hybrid of past and present systems:
1. Applications to FIFA should be considered on a case-by-case basis;
2. If any applicant nation is recognised by 50% + 1 members of the United Nations at the time their application is made, ceteris paribus their application must be accepted unless there are compelling and extraordinary reasons against this presumption.
Under this formula, Kosovo – currently recognised by 42% of UN member states, a total that is ticking upwards as the months and years pass – could look forward to joining the structures of world and European football within a reasonable timescale; the status quo forces players such as Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka, Arljind Ajeti and Taulant Xhaka – four young footballers of considerable talent, all with Kosovan nationality and registered with FC Basel – to represent Switzerland, the home of FIFA and UEFA, instead.