FIFA have issued a statement clarifying the situation of players who wanted to play for Kosovo but had represented other nations and it has proven Granit Xhaka right in his assertion that they’ve blocked him from changing.
Xhaka has had to face accusations of being a ‘traitor’ for not playing for Kosovo when it was believed that players could switch, however in a new statement by the governing body they seem to have changed their position.
Previously, it was claimed that players who represented a different nation at the Euros would not be allowed to switch however in their own statement they have now moved this date back to 13 May, the date Kosovo were accepted into the ‘FIFA family’ (boke).
FIFA’s statement said “In particular, the Bureau of the Players’ Status Committee wished to emphasise that the players concerned had not represented their previous association after 13 May 2016, the date of admission of the FFK to FIFA. In other words, they never chose to play for their previous association when they had the opportunity to choose to play for the representative teams of the FFK.
“The Bureau of the Players’ Status Committee indicated that this was a key element in its decision on the matter.”
Xhaka claims that this information was not passed to him or his people in time.
Switzerland next played a match after Kosovo’s acceptance on 28 May, when they lost 2-1 at home to Belgium.
Xhaka recently penned an open letter to the people of Kosovo about the situation. Part of his statement said, “According to an official statement distributed, FIFA has informed us that Granit played in the European Championships in 2016 and is no longer entitled to play for another nation.
“Kosovo Football Federation [FFK] and FIFA do not have a clear agreement on the transfer of players from Switzerland to Kosovo.
“FIFA clearly states those who played at EURO 2016 have no right to change his representative team.
“Kosovo was admitted to FIFA a few weeks before the start of the European championships and then we had to be informed, because this information as players we do not have. Others knew, the speaker should have informed us.
“For this reason, it is now impossible to change the guarantee of that nation, as well as FFK, FIFA have not informed [us] on the legal side and in the way they should have done.”
Xhaka has said he will do whatever he can to be allowed to represent Kosovo.