disciplinary action

Fifa investigate Serbia over 'hateful' dressing room flag

The flag showed independent Kosovo as being part of Serbia, with the slogan, ‘There will be no surrender.’

FIFA HAVE LAUNCHED disciplinary action against Serbia over a flag hung in their dressing room ahead their opening World Cup game against Brazil on Thursday. 

A photo emerged after the game of a flag hung along with two players’ jerseys showing  a version of the Serbian flag with a map including Kosovo as part of the country and stamped with the slogan “there will be no surrender”.

The Kosovo sports minister described the flag as “hateful”, saying they filed a complaint with Fifa. 

“The Fifa Disciplinary Committee has opened proceedings against the Football Association of Serbia due to a flag displayed in their dressing room on the occasion of the Brazil v. Serbia FIFA World Cup™ match played on 24 November”, read a Fifa statement.

Kosovo sports minister Hajrulla Ceku tweeted his anger at “disgraceful images from Serbia locker room, displaying hateful, xenophobic and genocidal messages towards Kosova, while exploiting Fifa World Cup platform”.

“We expect concrete actions from FIFA considering that (Kosovo) is a full Fifa and Uefa member,” added Ceku.

Kosovo joined Fifa and European confederation Uefa in 2016.

The Kosovo Football Federation (FFK) announced that it had filed a complaint with Fifa against “Serbia’s aggressive action”.

“Such a chauvinist act has no place at sporting events and even less inside establishments where the biggest world football event is taking place,” said the FFK in a press release on their website.

“It is unacceptable that this act is passed over in silence and we insistently demand that Fifa strictly apply its rules and punish the Serbian Football Federation for this aggressive act contrary to the values that football transmits”, added the FFK.

Kosovo, a former Yugoslav province with an Albanian majority, declared independence from Serbia in 2008, which Belgrade refuses to recognise. 

At the 2018 World Cup, two Switzerland players of Kosovan descent, Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka, were reprimanded by Fifa for celebrating in a match against Serbia by making an eagle gesture, in reference to a nationalist Albanian symbol. 

Both players are part of the Swiss squad again at this World Cup, with both sides again playing eachother in the group phase next week. 

Additional reporting by AFP 

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