Xhaka, Shaqiri celebrate their way to Fifa's bad book
- Author: Rosalie Stanley Jun 26, 2018,
Jun 26, 2018, 2:19
Switzerland's Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri are facing possible sanctions from FIFA after world football's governing body opened disciplinary proceedings into their goal celebrations during a 2-1 win over Serbia at the World Cup in Russian Federation.
The gesture made by them - open hands together with the thumbs interlocked and fingers outstretched - resembled the double-headed eagle, which is displayed on Albania's national flag.
Xhaka and Shaqiri both have Albanian heritage linked to Kosovo, a former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008.
Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri received a warning and a fine of 10,000 Swiss francs, or about $10,100, for unsporting behavior, in a judgment Monday by FIFA's disciplinary panel.
With Serbia leading 1-0 courtesy of an Aleksandar Mitrovi's fifth-minute goal, Granit Shaka drew Switzerland level via a thunderous volley in the 51st minute, then the Arsenal midfielder celebrated with the symbol. Xhaka's father was a political prisoner following the 1968 student demonstrations in Yugoslavia against the communist government in Belgrade. "It was a provocation, we were playing against Switzerland, not Kosovo", team official Jovan Surbatovic told Serbian state-run broadcaster RTS.
Federation Internationale de Football Association also fined Serbia manager Mladen Krstajic and FSS president Slavisa Kokeza 5,000 Swiss francs each over their scathing post-match attacks on the officiating in their 2-1 defeat. Serbia doesn't recognize Kosovo's independence and relations between the two countries remain tense.
Switzerland are second in Group E with four points and are set to face Costa Rica in their last group game on Wednesday.
The Serbian FA was also fined SFr54,000 (£41,217) for the behaviour of fans during the game - the display of discriminatory banners and the throwing of objects.
After the game, which his side won 2-1, Switzerland's Bosnia-born manager Vladimir Petkovic was asked about the celebrations and said: "You should never mix football and politics".
Krstajic had said German referee Felix Brych should be sent to the Hague, while Kokeza suggested he had been biased towards Switzerland. "And I think the main thing is that we were not able to finish our opportunities".