FIFA clears Kosovo to play international matches

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BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) -- World soccer's governing body has given Kosovo approval to begin playing exhibitions against its 208 member countries.

FIFA's executive committee made the decision after previously blocking Kosovo's ambitions because it is not recognized by the United Nations.

Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in February 2008.

However, FIFA and European soccer's governing body UEFA had repeatedly denied Kosovo's demands for recognition for its national team and clubs.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter proposed the policy change to his executive committee at a meeting on Monday.