May 25, 2012 / 1:26 PM / 8 years ago

South Sudan becomes FIFA's 209th member

A man holds up South Sudan's new flag as South Sudanese children rehearse a dance routine ahead of a soccer match between South Sudan and Kenya as part of the independence day celebrations, July 7, 2011. REUTERS/Paul Banks/UNMIS/Handout

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - The newly independent state of South Sudan became the 209th member of FIFA on Friday, when it was voted into full membership of world soccer’s governing body by delegates at FIFA’s annual congress.

South Sudan, which ceded from Sudan in 2005 and became fully independent last July, joined the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in February when it also became eligible to become a full member of FIFA after FIFA dropped its two-year waiting rule for new members.

South Sudan were not able to take part in the qualifying competition for next year’s African Cup of Nations as it started before they joined CAF.

Delegates gave a 98 percent “yes” vote to the proposal to admit them to FIFA and they will now be eligible to play in the qualifiers for the 2015 tournament and the 2018 World Cup finals.

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