Swiss trio fined for pro-Kosovo celebrations

28 June, 2018, 01:14 | Author: Anita Tucker
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To better contextualise these hang signals, one must understand how football has often become a venue for Albanian ethno-political provocations against Serbia.

Switzerland's scorers on Friday, Xhaka and Shaqiri, celebrated their goals by making a "double eagle" gesture with their hands to represent the Albanian flag.

"If you attended the game and experienced the charged atmosphere, you really appreciate the achievement of the Swiss national team and can understand that emotions can run riot with a player", said Parmelin, who was present in the stadium for the Swiss 2-1 victory. "We always find a reaction, and this is an important and positive characteristic of my team", he said.

The celebrations during Switzerland's 2-1 victory over Serbia on Friday have triggered a disciplinary investigation by Federation Internationale de Football Association and outrage from nationalist politicians at home. After scoring, they each appeared to make an eagle gesture, to symbolise the eagle on the Albanian flag.

But Shaqiri, who was booed constantly by fans of Serbia throughout the match, put his use of the Albanian gesture down to the heat of the moment.

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"An important goal for my team and I am very proud I was able to score it for them. I'd like to see that again. presumably Xhaka was not unhappy at not having scored against Albania", he said.

His father was a political prisoner following the 1986 student demonstrations in Yugoslavia against the communist government in Belgrade.

There had already been some tension between the Serbian and ethnic Albanian Swiss players before the game.

The Serbian football association reportedly complained to FIFA before the game about the Kosovo flag on one of Shaqiri's boots.

The Switzerland attacker was then roundly booed by Serbs when his name was announced.

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Swiss national team delegate Claudio Sulser said of the fines: "We take note of the decision and are happy that we can now focus exclusively on football".

Serbia coach Mladen Krstajic kept his council in his post-match news conference, refusing to condemn the officials.

Most Serbian media said the goal celebration was a provocation, but not all took a tone of outrage.

Midway through the second half, Switzerland defenders Stephan Lichtsteiner and Fabian Schar both grabbed hold of the Serbia striker, dragging him to the ground in the penalty area.

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Stoke City's Xherdan Shaqiri later scored a stoppage time victor to send the Swiss second in Group E, behind Brazil. The political back-and-forth has since been addressed by Switzerland head coach Vladimir Petkovic.

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