FIFA opens disciplinary proceedings against Xhaka, Shaqiri
MOSCOW (AP) — FIFA’s disciplinary committee has opened proceedings against Swiss players Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri for goal celebrations during their 2-1 win over Serbia in Kaliningrad.
FIFA also said Saturday it has opened disciplinary proceedings against the Serbian Football Association for crowd disturbance and the display of political and offensive messages by Serbian fans. FIFA also is reviewing statements that Serbia coach Mladen Krstajic made after the match.
Xhaka and Shaqiri celebrated their goals by making a nationalist symbol of their ethnic Albanian heritage.
Both players put their open hands together with their thumbs locked and fingers outstretched to make what looks like the double-headed eagle displayed on Albania’s flag. The thumbs represent the heads of the two eagles, while the fingers look like the feathers.
Shaqiri was born in Kosovo, the former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008. Serbia doesn’t recognize Kosovo’s independence and relations between the two countries remain tense. Xhaka’s parents are originally from Kosovo and they are of Albanian heritage. His brother plays for Albania’s national team.
Years of war in Balkans sent many families to western European countries, including Switzerland. The Swiss have dozens of ethnic Albanians in their national soccer program.
The Polish Football Association was fined 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,100) and given a warning by FIFA’s disciplinary committee on Saturday for a banner that the governing body deemed political and offensive. The banner was displayed during Senegal’s 2-1 win over Poland on Tuesday in Moscow.
The disciplinary committee also opened disciplinary proceedings against the federations of Argentina and Croatia for crowd disturbances during Croatia’s 3-0 win Thursday in Nizhny Novgorod.
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