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Kosovo's pride at stadium debut

The first official international match at Kosovo's Fadil Vokrri Stadium in Prishtina takes place on Monday - and UEFA HatTrick funding contributed to the venue's renovation.

The Fadil Vokrri Stadium is named in memory of the late Football Federation of Kosovo (FFK) president
The Fadil Vokrri Stadium is named in memory of the late Football Federation of Kosovo (FFK) president ©FFK

A dream becomes reality for Kosovo’s football community on Monday, when the national team plays the first official international match at the Fadil Vokrri Stadium in Prishtina – built with the help of UEFA’s HatTrick assistance programme.

Kosovo entertain the Faroe Islands in a UEFA Nations League League D Group 3 encounter at the renovated venue – named in memory of the late president of the Football Federation of Kosovo (FFK) and distinguished former player, who passed away in June.

It will be a proud and unforgettable moment for UEFA’s newest association, who were admitted as the 55th UEFA member at the Budapest Congress in 2016.

In addition to UEFA HatTrick funding, the reconstruction of the stadium - previously known as the City of Prishtina Stadium - has been financed by the Kosovo government and Prishtina municipal authorities.

The stadium, which has a capacity of 12,810, will also be used by local club FC Prishtina for domestic and international competition matches.

The impressive new-look venue is a shining example of the way in which UEFA’s HatTrick programme gives important sporting and infrastructure assistance to UEFA's member associations.

It provides further conclusive proof that HatTrick is a crucial and invaluable catalyst in the growth of football across Europe.

Kosovo’s national team played its most recent European qualifying matches in Albania. Now, a new era beckons at a stadium which has always been considered as the temple of football in Kosovo. In particular, the old venue was a football stronghold when FC Prishtina competed in Yugoslavia’s top flight.

International friendly matches were staged at the venue under the supervision of the world football body FIFA before Kosovo joined the international football community.

With confirmation by UEFA last week that the renovated stadium meets all requirements, the Fadil Vokrri Stadium will be a perfect setting for memorable matches, fantastic goals and superb feats of individual brilliance as the years go by.

Fadil Vokrri’s successor as Kosovo FA president, Agim Ademi, says that the first official match at the stadium represents a moment of considerable joy for the people of Kosovo. “To witness this day,” he reflected, “we needed to invest a lot, and do much work”.

“We all feel excited about it,” he added. “From now on, Kosovo’s fans will have a modern football temple, proud to bear the name of our legendary former president.”