Uefa has accepted Kosovo as its 55th member. The decision means the state can take part in European club competitions, raising the prospect of Manchester United's Adnan Januzaj turning his back on Belgium.
Kosovo will apply for Fifa membership next week, and the country's president Hashim Thaci has hailed the significance of the decision.
"Kosovo in Uefa! The best news for countless fans in our republic," he wrote on Facebook, according to The Guardian. "Now we will play in international championships, some games will be won, some will be lost, but no one will ever keep us out from green fields."
Januzaj declared for Belgium in 2014 but having found his appearances limited under coach Marc Wilmots, the highly rated Manchester United youngster could now declare for Kosovo due to a Fifa loophole.
Januzaj – who was loaned out to Borussia Dortmund by United earlier this season – is eligible to play for Kosovo by virtue of his family relations, and he could be allowed to switch his allegiance because the state was not recognised by Uefa or Fifa at the time he first declared.
Wilmots previously spoke about the possibility of Januzaj choosing to play for Kosovo, insisting he would not try to influence the player's decision. "Two years ago I asked him to choose with his heart and he came with us," Wilmots said of the United player, who was born in Belgium but is of Kosovar-Albanian heritage.
"If he changes his mind now and he feels that it's better to go elsewhere, I'll take note of it. I won't be able to do anything else in any case."