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Serb player’s parents fired after he joins Kosovo Under-19s

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — The Kosovo Football Federation has complained that local authorities in an ethnic Serb commune fired the parents of a footballer who agreed to play for the Kosovo Under-19s. Ilija Ivic, aged 17, an ethnic Serb resident in the Gracanica commune which is mostly populated by ethnic Serbs and was 9 kilometers (6 miles) from the capital Pristina, was selected by coach Ramiz Krasniqi for the national youth team.

Ivic plays with KF Flamurtari club. The federation said after Ivic agreed to play for the national under-19s, his parents working at the commune were fired. The federation called on Kosovo authorities, as well as UEFA and FIFA, to react and stop such “discriminating attempts” which were “a clear intervention of politics into sport.”

Kosovo joined UEFA and FIFA in 2016. Serbia does not accept Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence. Serbia's brutal intervention against Kosovo's independence-seeking ethnic Albanians in 1998-99 prompted NATO to intervene to stop the conflict. Relations have remained tense ever since.

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