FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Switzerland players Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka, over their goal celebrations during Friday’s 2-1 win over Serbia at the 2018 World Cup.
Both players, who are ethnic Albanians and of Kosovar heritage, celebrated after scoring with a gesture, which appeared to imitate the eagle displayed on Albania’s flag.
Serbia does not recognise the independence of its former province Kosovo, which broke away 10 years ago and whose 1.8 million people are mostly ethnic Albanians.
The players denied that their celebration was political, though Xhaka acknowledged thinking about his heritage.
“For me it was a really special day.
“This is a victory for my family, for Switzerland, Albania, Kosovo. The gesture was for everyone who has supported me; it was not aimed at our opponents. It was a really emotional game.”
Shaqiri, who also wore the image a Kosovo flag on his boot, said: “It’s nothing to do with politics, it’s about football.”
FIFA said it had also opened proceedings against the Serbian FA, for crowd disturbance and the display of political and offensive messages by Serbian fans.