ZURICH (Reuters) – A top Swiss football official has suggested that dual citizens should only be allowed to play for the country if they drop their second nationality. Swiss football federation general secretary Alex Miescher, whose comments are likely to spark fierce debate, said he was worried that players could benefit from Switzerland’s youth development programmes only to play for other national teams at senior level. The Swiss national side, which was eliminated in the second round at the World Cup after a 1-0 defeat to Sweden on Tuesday, draws heavily on second generation immigrants, many from the former Yugoslavia and some from African countries. The issue was pushed into the spotlight after Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri, who are ethnic Albanians and of Kosovar heritage, were fined by FIFA for celebrating their goals in the 2-1 win over Serbia with a gesture which appeared to imitate the eagle displayed on Albania’s flag. “One might have to ask: do … [Read more...] about Swiss FA official suggests players should drop second nationality
By Fatos BytyciPRISTINA (Reuters) - Kosovo's government on Friday raised tariffs on a second layer of imports from Serbia, stepping up pressure on Belgrade to end a campaign to persuade other countries to withdraw recognition from its former province.gi Kosovo, whose mostly ethnic Albanian population declared independence from Serbia in 2008, is recognised by around 110 nations but not by Serbia, Russia or five EU states. The government in Pristina last month raised customs tariffs on imports of locally-made products from Serbia and Bosnia, which also does not recognise Kosovo, to 100 percent from 10 percent. On Friday, in a move that Serbia called "insane", it did the same for imports of foreign-manufactured goods from the two countries.Justifying the step, Kosovo's Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said Serbia's derecognition drive was an "act of aggression". Kosovar officials told Reuters a handful of countries had withdrawn their decision to recognise Kosovo.Serbia, which has also … [Read more...] about Amid recognition row, Kosovo hits Serbia with more customs tariffs
Eleven years since Kosovo declared itself independent from Serbia, Belgrade still refuses to recognise the move after the former province broke away in 2008 following a war between Serbian government forces and Kosovar separatists in 1998-99. Serbia continues to view Kosovo as its own territory despite a majority of European Union countries and the US recognising it as a sovereign nation. Both countries entered mediation talks in 2011 to normalise their relations, a prerequisite for either to join the EU. Thanks to these talks, the two neighbours have been able to resolve some of the technical issues such as border management and proper identification for Kosovo's Serb community. The talks gave way to the 2013 Brussels agreement, which was aimed at the integration of the Serb majority in northern Kosovo. But disagreements still block normalising relations and no major breakthrough has been made since 2015. A series of setbacks in the last couple of years have seen talks break down, … [Read more...] about Will Pristina and Belgrade be able to break the impasse to normalising relations?
SAN FRANCISCO — Visa will be the presenting sponsor of the player of the match award at the Women's World Cup in France, agreed to a five-year sponsorship with the U.S. Soccer Federation and is launching a campaign with outspoken American star Megan Rapinoe. The company, a FIFA sponsor since replacing MasterCard in 2007, announced its plans Thursday, eight days before the start of the premier tournament in women's soccer. Its global advertising campaign "One Moment Can Change the Game" centers on elevating female athletes. Visa's new U.S. ad features Mallory Pugh, Becky Sauerbrunn, Rose Lavelle, Jessica McDonald, Abby Dahlkemper and Adrianna Franch. Among the international athletes working with Visa are Christine Sinclair (Canada); Lucy Bronze, Fran Kirby and Nikita Parris (England); Eugenie Le Sommer (France); Dzsenifer Marozsán (Germany); Laura Giuliani (Italy); Caroline Graham Hansen (Norway); Alexia Putellas (Spain); and Kosovare Asllani (Sweden). Visa also will be the … [Read more...] about Visa expands women’s soccer effort ahead of World Cup
Reigning champ US routs Thailand in World Cup openerREIMS, France: The United States began its trophy defense in scintillating style with 13-0 Women’s World Cup thrashing of Thailand in a ruthless demonstration of strength to potential quarterfinal opponents and host France, which return to action on Wednesday against Norway. Three-time champions US scored 10 goals in the second half in Reims on Tuesday as they eclipsed Germany’s 11-0 win over Argentina in 2007 and shattered their own previous tournament best of 7-0. Alex Morgan starred with five goals, Rose Lavelle and Samantha Mewis netted twice each and Lindsey Horan, Megan Rapinoe, Mallory Pugh and Carli Lloyd also got on the scoresheet in an embarrassingly one-sided Group F encounter watched by more than 18,000.The Americans hit back after at suggestions they could have eased up and saved 34th-ranked Thailand from complete humiliation. “This is a world championship so every team that is here has been fantastic to … [Read more...] about Reigning champ US routs Thailand in World Cup opener