FIFA probes Xhaka, Shaqiri celebrations

FIFA has started disciplinary proceedings against Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri following their goal celebrations in Switzerland’s 2-1 World Cup Group E win over Serbia on Friday.

Xhaka and Shaqiri – both of Albanian-Kosovan extraction – celebrated their goals by making a double-headed eagle sign with their hands.

The double-headed eagle appears on the Albanian flag, and is controversial as Serbia does not recognise the independence of Kosovo – it’s former Albanian enclave.

Shaqiri, of Stoke City, was born in Kosovo, while Xhaka parents are Albanians originally from Serbia.

Arsenal star Xhaka’s father was a political prisoner in communist Yugoslavia. His brother Taulant plays for Albania.

“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,” a FIFA statement read.

“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.”

In his post-match comments Krstajic accused FIFA of being biased against Serbia.

He was unhappy that a German referee was in charge of the match, and the failure of the VAR to award a penalty to Serbia after Aleksandar Mitrovic was wrestled to the ground by two Swiss defenders.

“We all know too well that more than half of Switzerland’s population is German,” he said.

“Technical staff, players, people in Serbia, they are all disappointed and frustrated because of injustice produced by people at Fifa.

“It is clear to Europe and the world that Serbia was brutally robbed. I do not expect Fifa to take action in order for this brutal robbery not to happen again, because, I repeat, it was all directed,” he said.