Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri escape ban over Swiss celebration

• Duo made eagle symbol of Kosovo in win against Serbia
• Each fined £7,600 and Stephan Lichtsteiner fined £3,800

Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri have escaped a ban following their controversial celebrations in the 2-1 World Cup win over Serbia last Friday.

The pair could have faced two-match bans if Fifa had decided their celebrations broke rules on political and offensive messages.

Xhaka and Shaqiri scored in the Group E match and were then charged after they celebrated 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.

Stoke City’s Shaqiri was born in Kosovo and the Arsenal midfielder Xhaka was born to Albanian parents who were from Kosovo. Xhaka’s father was a political prisoner following the 1986 student demonstrations in Yugoslavia against the communist government in Belgrade. Xhaka’s brother Taulant plays for Albania’s national side.

The Football Association of Serbia (FSS) had revealed it would complain to Fifa about Shaqiri’s boots – which bear the flag of Kosovo – and the display of “several controversial flags” during Friday night’s match in Kaliningrad.

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However, a statement from Fifa on Monday confirmed that Xhaka and Shaqiri had been fined 10,000 Swiss francs (£7,632) each and Stephan Lichtsteiner 5,000 Swiss francs (£3,816), with all three also given warnings, having “infringed the Fifa disciplinary code for unsporting behaviour contrary to the principles of fair play.”


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