Xhaka, Shaqiri celebrate their way to Fifa's bad book

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".

  • Rosalie Stanley