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  • Gibraltar, Kosovo Could Soon Be FIFA Members -- Federations Focus


    (ATR) Gibraltar and Kosovo could become the newest members of FIFA as early as next week.

    Soccer match in Gibraltar (Getty Images)
    The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on May 2 sided with the Gibraltar Football Association (GFA) in ruling that its application for membership in FIFA should not have been denied by FIFA's Executive Committee in 2014.

    The panel unanimously ordered that "the FIFA Congress take all necessary measures to admit the GFA as a full member of FIFA as soon as possible, within the limits of the FIFA Statutes."

    FIFA released a statement saying "the FIFA Council is expected to discuss the matter at its next meeting on 9 and 10 May 2016 and decide on the next steps, including a potential request to amend the 66th FIFA Congress agenda in order to submit the Gibraltar FA’s application for FIFA membership."

    The FIFA Congress is meeting in Mexico City on May 12 and 13.

    A Kosovo football federation member celebrates the UEFA membership in Budapest. (Getty Images)
    FIFA president Gianni Infantino has already indicated that Kosovo's membership in world football's governing body would be on the agenda in Mexico City.

    That follows a decision by UEFA on May 3 to accept Kosovo as a new member following a close vote and opposition from Serbia at the European football’s governing body’s congress in Budapest.

    Should FIFA follow suit, Kosovo - which declared independence from Serbia in 2008 - would be able to take part in 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

    However, it is not yet clear if FIFA will allow Kosovar players to switch nationalities after previously making appearances for another national team.

    The decision comes after Kosovo gained IOC membership in December 2014. This paved the way for the country to compete at the Baku 2015 European Games, its first major international event.

    Fadil Vokrri, president of the Football Federation of Kosovo, described the decision – after two years of trying to gain UEFA membership – as a "historic moment” for his country. It allows Kosovan teams to enter European club and national team competitions.

    "We will be able to bring people together through football on the pitch and around the pitch," Vokrri said.

    WBSC Seeks Development Opportunities in Iran

    Iranian women learn how to hit a softball. (WBSC)
    The World Baseball Softball Confederation will join forces with the Iranian Olympic Committee and other national sports organizations to help expand baseball and softball in the country.

    The federation seeks to first focus on support and instruction, including training, coaching, scoring and umpiring. The WBSC hopes this foundation will increase participation and adoption by the youth and particularly women in the country.

    In the long-term, the WBSC hopes to facilitate the construction of baseball and softball venues in the country that meet international standards to host major events. Iran is currently conducting a feasibility study for a new stadium in Isfahan.

    "WBSC is committed to the sustained global growth of our sport," said WBSC president Riccardo Fraccari. "And the shared vision and recognition among Iran's sport leaders to promote baseball and softball in their nation is another key step forward in this regard. The Iranian Baseball and Softball Association under President Alireza Adib has done remarkable work in raising awareness of the benefits of our sport to Iran's young people and sports leaders."

    The WBSC has also delivered baseball and softball starter kits to Iran to help spark the development program.

    U.S. First Family and British Royal Family Issue Invictus Games Challenges

    Ahead of the 2016 Invictus Games set for May 8-12 in Orlando, Florida, leaders of the United States and Great Britain are challenging one another to bring their best to the competition.

    The Invictus Games were created by Prince Harry in 2014 to allow wounded soldiers a platform to compete in sports much like those seen in the Paralympics.

    This year's edition of the event will be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando with ESPN also serving as the host broadcaster of the event.

    Watch the video featuring U.S. President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Harry below:

    Written by Gerard Farek and Kevin Nutley

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