By Duncan Mackay in Lausanne

Kosovo flagKosovo are set to make their debut in a major international event at the European Games in Baku next year following their historic recognition by the International Olympic Committee.

The decision yesterday by the IOC's ruling Executive Board means Kosovo is now free to apply for membership to the European Olympic Committees.

Kosovo National Olympic Committee President Besim Hasani has confirmed to insidethegames that they plan to apply for membership as soon as possible. 

"After the IOC decision I expect that Kosovo will now apply to the EOC for membership," EOC President Patrick Hickey told insidethegames.

"The EOC will then make a decision having regard to the IOC decision and if accepted in this would mean that their first outing would be at the European Games in Baku, rounding up the number of participating National Olympic Committees to 50. 

"This decision will be made at General Assembly in Baku next month."

Kosovo National Olympic Committee President Besim Hasani has led the campaign for his country to be given Olympic recognition ©FacebookKosovo National Olympic Committee President Besim Hasani has led the campaign for his country to be given Olympic recognition ©Facebook

So far, less than half of the 28 International Federations that make up the Summer Olympics recognise Kosovo.

But IOC President Thomas Bach claimed that he expected them all to recognise Kosovo when the Olympic recognition is formally approved at the IOC Extraordinary Session in Monte Carlo on December 8 and 9.

"Necessary steps have been taken," said Bach. 

"Seven more sports are in the waiting line and we have received messages from quite a few that more are in the pipeline, either for provisional or full recognition.

"They were waiting for the decision by the IOC and then will follow."

Bach claimed that he did not expect any opposition to the IOC's decision, even though Serbia had claimed it would "present an exception without precedent in recent history" because Kosovo has not officially been recognised by the United Nations.

China and Russia have also in the past opposed the recognition of Kosovo.

"We have had broad consultations over quite some time," said Bach.

"The autonomy of the IOC is widely respected in this respect.

"By taking this decision we have applied the Olympic Charter."

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