Switzerland trio avoid bans for 'eagle gesture' goal celebrations

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26 June, 2018

The pair, who both have Albanian heritage but grew up in Switzerland, turned Friday night's match around after Serbia had taken the initial lead.

According to the reports, FIFA will check their actions for consistency with the Article 54 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code "Provoking the general public".

On Saturday, Fifa confirmed its disciplinary committee had opened proceedings against Xhaka and Shaqiri, adding: "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".

Xhaka and Shaqiri made hand gestures of a two-headed eagle after scoring goals, and Swiss captain Lichtsteiner joined in the celebration.

If found guilty, both players could face two-match bans which would rule them out of Switzerland's final group match against Costa Rica on Wednesday, and a possible last 16 match. Serbia does not recognize that independence.

Serbia refuses to recognise the independence of its former province Kosovo, whose 1.8 million people are mostly ethnic Albanians, which broke away 10 years ago.

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Federation Internationale de Football Association also punished Slavisa Kokeza, Serbia FA president, and coach Mladen Krstajic in relation to comments they made on the goal celebrations after the match. With one group game remaining, they will not want to be without three of their key players.

The online version of the Serbian newspaper Blic wrote on June 23 that the gesture "shamefully provoked our fans".

Shaqiri was born in Kosovo, while Xhaka's parents are originally from Kosovo.

Krstajic told Serbian journalists that German referee Felix Brych should be tried for war crimes in The Hague for failing to award his team a penalty. "It's not more. I think we don't have to speak about this now".

"In football, you have always emotions". 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.

"It's good to be a fan and important to show respect", Petkovic said. "It's a wonderful atmosphere and a positive experience and that's what football should be about".

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