Switzerland players Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri are the subject of FIFA disciplinary proceedings following their controversial goal celebration against Serbia.
Xhaka and Shaqiri, who are both of Albanian-Kosovan heritage, celebrated their goals in the 2-1 Group E win by putting their hands together to form a double-headed eagle similar to the one on the Albanian flag.
This nationalist symbol risked inflaming tensions in the Balkans among Serbians – who do not recognise Kosovo’s independence – and ethnic Albanians.
Switzerland’s Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal against Serbia (Laurent Gillieron/AP)
In a statement released on Saturday night, FIFA said: “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.
“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.”
Xhaka also made the gesture after his goal (Laurent Gillieron/AP)
Stoke midfielder Shaqiri was born in Kosovo and Arsenal’s Xhaka was born to Albanian parents who were originally from Serbia. His father was a political prisoner following the 1968 student demonstations in Yugoslavia against the communist government in Belgrade. Xhaka’s brother Taulant plays for Albania’s national side.
The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has also sanctioned the Polish Football Association with a fine of 10,000 Swiss Francs after fans displayed a political and offensive banner during the match against Senegal.
The Argentinian FA and Croatian FA have also had disciplinary proceedings opened against them after crowd disturbances.