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FIFA: No probe against Swiss football team in Qatar

Serbian and Swiss football players
Xhaka was involved in a scuffle with Serbian players during last Friday's group stage game at the football world championships in Qatar. Keystone / Georgi Licovski
Series Qatar World Cup, Episode 18:

Football's world governing body FIFA has brought disciplinary charges against Serbia for alleged misconduct by players and fans during a World Cup match against Switzerland.

However, it stopped short of launching a probe against the Swiss team or its captain, Granit Xhaka, for obscene gestures against the Serbian bench and other perceived provocations.

The FIFA decision came a day ahead of a crucial game between Portugal and Switzerland for a berth in the quarterfinals in Qatar. 

Tensions flared in the stands and on the field in last Friday’s rematch of their stormy game at the 2018 World Cup that revived ethnic Balkan rivalries.

Switzerland was captained by Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri scored the opening goal in a 3-2 win that eliminated Serbia. Both Swiss players have ethnic Albanian roots and family ties to Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Serbia doesn’t recognise Kosovo’s sovereignty. 

FIFA on Monday didn’t specify which incidents at Stadium 974 led to charges relating to “misconduct of players and officials,” discrimination and “misconduct of players and officials.”

Anti-Kosovo chants were heard from the section of Serbia fans, who targeted Shaqiri with verbal abuse in the first half.

Several Serbia players in the dugout encroached on the field in the second half when the referee didn’t use video review to study a claim for a penalty kick.

FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, gave no timetable for the disciplinary case. Any punishments could apply when Serbia next plays competitive games in March in a European Championship qualifying group.

Qatar, Doha skyline.


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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR