O Tonight’s Spain-Kosovo was marked, in the broadcast of the Spanish state television channel RTVE, for the non-recognition of Kosovo as a country, imposed by the local government, something that has happened for historical reasons since Kosovar independence, in 2008.
During the broadcast of RTVE, commentators were thus obliged to follow political issues to the letter, having referred to Kosovo as “the team of the Kosovo federation” on several occasions, as was evident in the Kosovar goal, scored by Halimi, or in the 3-1 of Spain, appointed by Gerard Moreno.
The Halimi goal in which RTVE refers to Kosovo as a “federation team”:
The same, but in Gerard Moreno’s goal:
In the marker that accompanied the transmission on RTVE, Kosovo’s initials appeared in lowercase [kos], something also related to this lack of political recognition.
Why does Spain not recognize Kosovo?
Kosovo’s declaration of independence was signed in 2008, something that was denied by several countries, such as Spain (one of the few in Europe with this position), in addition to Russia, Serbia, but also Greece or Georgia (these two also opponents of Kosovo in qualifying for the World Cup). Kosovo is seen for several of these, not as a country, but as a separatist province from Serbia, despite the fact that Serbs have not interfered in its administration for more than two decades.
Kosovo is recognized by more than half of the member states of the United Nations (98 out of 193). As has been said, among those who do not do so is Spain, which has always maintained its position over the past few years, trying to avoid recognition that could be interpreted as a risky precedent. This happens a lot due to the similarities that exist with the nationalisms present in the Spanish territory, with the case of Catalonia discouraging Spain from recognizing Kosovo as an independent country.
In 2018, the Spanish Ministry of International Relations, then led by Josep Borrel, was very clear about this rejection. “Spain does not recognize Kosovo as an independent state and that position does not change even if the Spanish team plays in an international tournament with the Kosovar team”. The Spanish Government maintains, to date, the same stance, something that was reflected in the Spanish broadcast of tonight’s departure.
The Kosovar national team is recognized as an official member of UEFA and FIFA, having played, on 5 September 2016, its first official game against Finland.
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