The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upholds the decision of the UEFA Congress to admit Kosovo as a member
24 January 2017 – The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed the appeal filed by the Football Association of Serbia (FAS) against the Union des Associations Européennes de Football (UEFA). FAS sought to annul a resolution passed at the UEFA Congress held in Budapest on 3 May 2016 in which the Football Federation of Kosovo (FFK) was admitted as the 55th member association of UEFA. As a consequence, the resolution remains in force and FFK’s admission as a member association of UEFA is confirmed.
In its appeal to the CAS, FAS argued that UEFA breached its own rules in admitting FFK as a member association and that such breaches meant that FFK’s membership contract should be declared null and void.
The CAS Panel in charge of this matter noted that FAS had both standing to sue in this matter and reasonable cause to file its appeal, considering that the relevant provision of the UEFA Statutes (Article 5 (1)) was ambiguous and required clarification. Such provision states that membership of UEFA is open to national football associations situated in the continent of Europe, based in a country which is recognised by the United Nations (UN) as an independent state. Considering that there is no formal recognition of countries by the UN, the CAS Panel interpreted Art. 5 (1) UEFA Statutes as meaning that the territory in which the football federation is located shall be recognised by the majority of the UN member states as an “independent state”. The CAS Panel found that this prerequisite was fulfilled with respect to FFK, and that such conclusion was also in line with the will expressed by the majority of the member federations at the UEFA Congress to accept FFK as a new UEFA member. As a consequence, FAS’ appeal was dismissed.