Switzerland stars Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka to face Fifa disciplinary proceedings over eagle celebration

Ben Rumsby
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Switzerland stars Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka to face Fifa disciplinary proceedings over eagle celebration

Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri are facing punishment for their Albanian eagle salutes in Switzerland’s World Cup grudge match against Serbia.

Fifa announced it has opened disciplinary proceedings against the players following a complaint from the Football Association of Serbia (FSS) about their goal celebrations during Friday night’s dramatic Group E game in Kaliningrad.

The FSS also said it would lodge a formal protest about Shaqiri’s boots, which bears the flag of Kosovo - although they had already been cleared by Fifa - and the display of “several controversial flags” by their opponents.

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As well as the action against Xhaka and Shaqiri, proceedings were opened against the FSS itself for crowd disturbances and the display of political and offensive messages by Serbia fans, days after it was fined for a similar offence in their game against Costa Rica.

And a preliminary investigation was opened against the team’s manager, Mladen Krstajic, for alleged statements made in the aftermath of the Switzerland match.


Fifa could not be reached for comment on the reasons behind Saturday night’s action and whether proceedings had been opened against Xhaka and Shaqiri for an alleged breach of Article 54 of its disciplinary code, which outlaws what is defined as “provoking the general public”.

The offence carries an automatic two-match ban that would see both players miss Switzerland’s crucial final group match against Costa Rica and any last-16 tie.

It appears unlikely they could face action for breaching rules on the display of political symbols given both Albania and Kosovo are members of Fifa and their flags are routinely displayed at international matches.

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Xhaka, whose family was forced to flee the Balkans after his father was jailed for campaigning for Kosovan independence, and Shaqiri, who was born in the former Serbian province, paid tribute to their roots after scoring on Friday.

Xherdan Shaqiri's celebration was full of passion Credit: reuters

Both were repeatedly jeered during the game - along with Switzerland’s other Balkan-blooded players - by fans or Serbia, whose government refuses to recognise Kosovo as an independent state.

The FSS had also said it would complain about the non-award of a second-half penalty to Aleksandar Mitrovic after the Newcastle United striker was hauled to the ground by two defenders.

Meanwhile, Fifa announced it had fined the Polish Football Association 10,000 Swiss francs (£7,625) for the display of a political and offensive banner during the match between Poland and Senegal and had opened disciplinary proceedings for crowd disturbances from both sets of fans during Croatia’s win over Argentina.

That match saw a Croatia supporter set upon by Argentinian fans, with footage showing them kicking him repeatedly in the head.