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Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri subject to FIFA disciplinary proceedings

12:41 am, 24th June 2018

Arsenal’s Xhaka and Shaqiri of Stoke – who are of Albanian-Kosovan heritage – celebrated their goals in the World Cup Group E win by putting their hands together to form a double-headed eagle, representative of the one on the Albanian flag.

The nationalist symbol risked inflaming tensions in the Balkans among Serbians – who do not recognise Kosovo’s independence – and ethnic Albanians.

“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has opened disciplinary proceedings against the Swiss players Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri for their goal celebration during the match Switzerland vs. Serbia,” FIFA said in an official statement.

“In relation to the same match, disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the Serbian FA for crowd disturbance and the display of political and offensive messages by Serbian fans.

“Furthermore, a preliminary investigation has been opened against the coach of the Serbian national team Mladen Krstajic for alleged statements made in the aftermath of the said match.”

Stoke midfielder Shaqiri was born in Kosovo, while Xhaka was born to Albanian parents who were originally from Serbia.

His father was a political prisoner following the 1968 student demonstrations in Yugoslavia against the communist government in Belgrade. Xhaka’s brother Taulant plays for Albania’s national side.

Meanwhile, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee has also sanctioned the Polish Football Association with a fine of £7600 after fans displayed a political and offensive banner during the match against Senegal.

The Argentinian FA and Croatia FA have also had disciplinary proceedings opened against them after crowd disturbances during their game in Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday, which Croatia won 3-0.