Federation Internationale de Football Association opens probe on Shaqiri and Xhaka after Serbian FA lodges complaint

Mario Gotze

Both players put their open hands together with their thumbs locked and fingers outstretched to make what looks like the double-headed eagle displayed on Albania's flag.

Both Shaqiri and Xhaka come from ethnic Albanian families from Kosovo, a former Serbian province, a fact that stoked tensions before and during Friday's clash.

Both Xhaka and Shaqiri are of Albanian-Kosovan heritage and the salutes that they both performed after their goals in a 2-1 win are thought to be a reference to that.

The use of the Albanian "crossed hands" symbol, which is also used by the Albanian football team to celebrate goals, could be read as a provocative act given Kosovo was a former province of their opponents Serbia - a country which has never formally recognised Kosovo's independence and which has attempted to prevent the fledgling nation from competing in sport at the global level.

Xhaka, Shaqiri and Lichtsteiner would likely have been shown a yellow card at the time for their celebrations. I spoke to the father of one of our players who is Albanian, and he told me about this history.

The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has also sanctioned the Polish Football Association with a fine of 10,000 Swiss Francs after fans displayed a political and offensive banner during the match against Senegal.

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"We think we were roughly injured in the 66th minute (the non-penalty decision) and we're sure to file a Federation Internationale de Football Association appeal", he said.

"We are wondering why Serbia is the only team in the World Cup where the match official chose to ignore controversial situations at it raises the legitimate question whether the VAR is being used selectively".

But some Serbians may have been more angered by how Shaqiri celebrated the goal than the fact he scored it. Shaqiri had posted a photograph on Instagram of his playing boots, one with a Switzerland flag on the heel and the other with a Kosovo flag.

Two players with the Swiss national soccer team have sparked controversy for apparently making a political gesture after scoring goals in the team's 2-1 victory over Serbia in the 2018 World Cup on June 22.

Shaqiri said: "It's nothing to do with politics, it's about football".

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