- Associated Press - Thursday, June 9, 2016

PARIS (AP) - UEFA has placed Kosovo in World Cup qualifying Group I after ruling that its newest member could not play against Bosnia-Herzegovina for security reasons.

UEFA said Thursday that Kosovo must go in the originally drawn five-team group that includes Croatia, Ukraine, Iceland, Turkey and Finland.

Of those five, only Ukraine has not yet recognized Kosovo as a state since it declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

The Kosovo decision meant that Gibraltar will join five other teams in World Cup qualifying Group H, which includes Bosnia-Herzegovina, Belgium, Greece, Cyprus and Estonia.

Bosnia-Herzegovina, which has a significant minority population of ethnic Serbs, has also not formally recognized Kosovo.

Kosovo and Gibraltar were both accepted as FIFA members last month and had to be found places in the World Cup qualifying program that kicks off in September.

The FIFA decision followed the week after UEFA federations voted narrowly to admit Kosovo as a 55th member following strong opposition led by Serbia.

UEFA said its emergency panel ruled Thursday that Serbian teams should also not play teams from Kosovo in future competitions.

Kosovo’s national team has made faster progress than its clubs in UEFA competitions.

Clubs from the Balkan republic will have to wait at least a year to make their debut in European competitions after failing to comply with UEFA licensing and spending regulations in time to play next season.

Kosovo had hope that its FK Feronikeli and cup winner FC Prishtina would enter the first qualifying rounds of the Champions League and the Europa League, respectively.

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