The Swiss Football Association (SFA) has been accused of giving out false information about the citizenship of players as the dual nationality debate rumbles on. The agent of Granit Xhaka has denied SFA statements that the midfielder has an Albanian passport.
André Gross told the Sonntagszeitung that the national team player, who was born in Basel, only holds a Swiss passport. The article also accuses the SFA of getting the second nationality of Valon Behrami wrong – he used to hold a Serbian passport, not Albanian.
An SFA spokesman told the newspaper that its apparently misleading information came from a survey carried out in 2014 and an unofficial list filled out by players a year later.
The row over dual nationality broke out after three Swiss footballers, one of them Xhaka, were fined by FIFA for making hand gestures of an Albanian national symbol to celebrate goals against Serbia in a World Cup match.
In an interview with the Tages Anzeiger, SFA general secretary Alex Miescher said “that incident shows that there’s a problem. We have to ask ourselves: do we want dual nationals?” The SFA later distanced itself from the comments, reiterating its support for integration and regretting the discriminatory tone of Miescher’s interview.
But the comments clearly rankled Xhaka, who told the Swiss News Agency, SDA-ATS: “We are all Swiss, and we give everything for the Swiss team. We all know exactly what we owe to Switzerland, what this country has done for us and our families. My roots are in Kosovo, those of Breel Embolo are in Cameroon. Manuel Akanji comes from Nigeria and Ricardo Rodriguez from Chile and Spain, etc.”