Kosovo’s national football team wasn’t able to triumph in their match against Spain yesterday, ending the night with a 3-1 score, in Spain’s favor.
Apart from the performance on the field, the face-off between Spain and Kosovo has seen a large backlash and comments on a political level, as Madrid still hasn’t recognized Kosovo and its independence from Serbia, often calling it the territory of Kosovo instead of an independent Republic.
The coach of Kosovo’s national team, Bajram Shala said for Euronews Albania that the Spanish Soccer Federation has held a generally positive stance.
“Despite many polemics in the past couple of weeks, our reception in Spain has been quite positive and the Spanish Federation was willing to provide us with all the help we needed that was within their competence. We made it clear since the start that we wouldn’t accept to be treated in any other way other than as equal rivals, at least from the federation and in relation to the regulatory protocols, defined by UEFA and FIFA and that’s how we were treated, “said Shala.
However, the Spanish public television decided to take a controversial step by refusing to write Kosovo’s name in upper-case letters like the name of their rivals for the night was. Next to one another, in the score icon, on the top right corner of the screen, Spain is written in upper-case letters, while Kosovo in lower-case.
According to Shala, this was definitely not a mistake or a coincidence. It was an intentional decision reinstating Spain’s refusal to recognize Kosovo’s independence from Serbia and its establishment as a state, over 10 years ago.
“It wasn’t a mistake; it was in line with the state’s official stance. The media and institutions in Spain have tried, in every possible way to minimize Kosovo’s statehood in this face-off and their national public TV hung on to this same line, which kept our country’s name written in small lower-case letters, during the entire course of the match,” concluded Shala.