– There are shameful photos from the locker room in Serbia, which show a message of hatred, xenophobia and a genocidal message against Kosovo, Kosovo’s Minister of Culture Hajarullah Çeko wrote about Twitter.
He points to a photo taken in Serbia’s dressing room before losing 2-0 to Brazil in the World Cup. Çeko is one of several demanding that FIFA take action against the Serbian Football Federation.
The reason the image is so frowned upon is that the flag shows the outline of the territory of Serbia as part of which Kosovo was incorporated. Above the red, blue and white map was written “No Surrender”.
– It’s a shame that the Serbs still think this way and dream of returning Kosovo by force, Edvar Celina tells NRK.
He is the father of soccer player Persant Celina, who came to Norway as a refugee from Kosovo. Today he represents the national team of his parents’ country.
NRK has contacted FIFA and the Serbian Football Association about the photo, but they have not yet responded to our inquiries.
Flag described as “an act of aggression”
The conflict between the two countries goes back a long time, and Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia only in 2008. The Serbian authorities said that they would never recognize Kosovo as an independent republic.
At the latest in August, the leaders of the two countries met for a crisis meeting with the European Union in Brussels after tensions escalated on the border in the north.
– Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said about the talks: – We disagree on almost everything.
The Football Association of Kosovo and the Olympic Committee of Kosovo lodged complaints with FIFA and the International Olympic Committee respectively after they learned of the flag in the dressing room in Serbia.
– It is unacceptable that this measure is bypassed in silence, and we demanded that FIFA strictly abide by its rules and punish the Serbian Football Federation for this aggressive act that goes against the values of football, the Football Association of Kosovo said in a statement. .
– Such a chauvinistic act does not belong to sporting events, the association concluded.
We hope the stars celebrate again against Serbia
Kosovo became a member of FIFA and UEFA in 2016. The country’s former foreign minister, Petrit Selimi, wonders if FIFA has suddenly stopped mixing football and politics again. It is reported that FIFA has done exactly that in the past by refusing European countries to use the OneLove badge.
– Kosovo is an equal member of FIFA, people. This is obscene, Salimi wrote on Twitter.
During the 2018 World Cup, Serbia and Switzerland met in a battle, the latter with players of Kosovo Albanian origin.
Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri both scored against the Serbs and celebrated by forming their hands in the ‘Albanian Eagle’, the symbol of Albania’s flag.
The ceremony was interpreted as a political gesture towards Serbia. On 2 December, the countries meet again in the final match of the group stage.
– I hope Xhaka or Shaqiri will record and celebrate as before, Selena’s dad says.
Xhaka and Shaqiri were fined by FIFA the last time they celebrated this way.
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