No FIFA ban for Shaqiri & Xhaka over eagle celebrations in Serbia game

25 Jun, 2018 17:01
No FIFA ban for Shaqiri & Xhaka over eagle celebrations in Serbia game
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© Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters

FIFA will not ban Switzerland players Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka for the controversial Albanian eagle goal celebrations they made during their team’s 2-1 World Cup win against Serbia.

Instead, Xhaka and Shaqiri have been fined CHF 10,000 (US$10,000) each for "for unsporting behavior contrary to the principles of fair-play,” while captain Stephan Lichtsteiner, who joined the two in giving the salute, has been handed a fine of CHF 5,000 (US$5,065).

The three had been charged by FIFA over the incidents which took place during Switzerland’s World Cup Group E match against Serbia in Kaliningrad on Friday, where they celebrated the goals by making the sign of the eagle in reference to the Albanian flag.

Xhaka and Shaqiri are both of Kosovan-Albanian descent, and Shaqiri also played in boots marked with the Swiss and Kosovan flag during the match.

The players’ actions prompted a furious response from Serbia and calls for FIFA to ban them for at least two games under rules against “provoking public opinion.”

FIFA confirmed it had charged the players at the weekend, but it emerged on Monday that the players had escaped a ban.

On the same day, FIFA fined the Serbian FA CHF54,000 (US$54,700) after fans displayed discriminatory banners and threw objects during the game against Switzerland.

Kosovo ceded from Serbia in 2008 and was made a FIFA member in 2016. However, its independence remains a contentious political issue, and it has not been recognized by an array of countries, including Serbia and Russia. Kosovo is mostly populated by Albanians.