Tuesday, 14 August, 2018

Swiss ministers support Xhaka, Shaqiri over goal celebrations

Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri training with the Swiss team Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri training with the Swiss team
Jan Ortega | 26 June, 2018, 02:24

It will be argued that the behaviour illustrates the Albanian nationalist-supported notion of a Greater Albania, which makes territorial claims on parts of Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia and Greece.

Under article 54 of of their code, "anyone who provokes the general public during a match will be suspended for two matches and sanctioned with a minimum fine of 5,000 Swiss francs (£3,800)".

It has also opened disciplinary proceedings against the Serbian Football Association for crowd disturbance and the display of political and offensive messages by Serbian fans.

Both players celebrated with the gesture of the double eagle, which appears on the national flag of Albania - a country with which Serbia has a turbulent and troubled past.

If the football governing body concludes that the duo violated the rule, they could be banned for up to two games. However, its independence remains a contentious political issue, as it has not been recognized by an array of countries, including Serbia and Russian Federation.

Kosovo declared independence in 2008, less than a decade after the 1998-99 war between ethnic Albanian guerillas and Serb forces, but Belgrade - backed by its traditional ally Russian Federation - still refuses to recognise the move.

They also have complained that Brych showed four Serbia players yellow cards but only one Swiss player was booked.

Xhaka and Shaqiri's behavior divided opinions in Switzerland with some politicians defending them and others saying they felt their goals were scored by Kosovo rather than Switzerland.

Switzerland beat Serbia 2-1 in the Group E match.

Xhaka and Shaqiri are of Kosovar heritage and their celebrations greatly angered Serbia's FA, with their president condemning and claiming a "brutal robbery" had denied the Balkan side of a win last week .

"I have no doubt that you can feel patriotic emotions for the land which has taken you in without forgetting your roots", he said. The spontaneity argument may be undermined by Shaqiri's boots, one of which was adorned with the double eagle symbol long before his second-half goal put Switzerland ahead. "And I think the main thing is that we were not able to finish our opportunities".

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