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FIFA Blocks Bosnian Serb Friendly

Soccer's world governing body FIFA has blocked a friendly game between Serbia and a Select XI from the Serb-dominated area of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Republica Srpska, citing the "complex political situation."

Republika Srpska Football Association Secretary General Rodoljub Petkovic told media that he is to appeal against the ban with both FIFA and its European sister body UEFA, and said that he still hoped the friendly would take place. He cited international games played by a Catalan Select XI as a precedent.

The proposed game was reportedly approved by Bosnia's Football Association, despite strong protests from some Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) officials and media, who said staging such a match would represent another sign of the Republika Srpska's campaign to become a separate state. The news report said FIFA's decision may have resulted from "heightened tensions and animosities among local leaders and the political deadlock which has been choking the country for the past two years."

The modern state of Bosnia-Herzegovina emerged after a three-year, tri-partite civil war in the early- to mid-1990s that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia. Since the 1995 Dayton Peace Accord, a democratically elected federal government based in the capital Sarajevo has overseen an uneasy truce between the country's Bosniak, Serb and Croat populations.

 

 

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