ST. JULIAN'S, Malta (AP) Kosovo can move closer to joining UEFA this week with a place in 2018 World Cup qualifying at stake.

Membership of Europe's football body is needed before joining FIFA, and is part of Kosovo's push for international recognition since declaring independence from Serbia in 2008.

UEFA's executive committee can rule the Balkan republic eligible to apply when it meets on Thursday in Malta.

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino says ''it is on the agenda to look at Kosovo's application.''

Kosovo can get full membership at UEFA's annual congress next March in Budapest, Hungary.

Fadil Vokrri, the Kosovo Football Federation president, praises ''the will UEFA is showing to resolve Kosovo's problem.''

With FIFA support, Kosovo could also kick off World Cup qualifying next September.