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Price of a celebration: Kosovo collects money for fined Swiss players

FIFA fined Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Stephan Lichtsteine over $25,000 for celebrating goals with a pro-Kosovo double eagle gesture in their World Cup win over Serbia.

BS Web team & agencies  |  Pristine 

Shaqiri's controversial celebration

was collecting money on Wednesday to pay FIFA fines of Switzerland players Xhaka, and for celebrating goals with a pro-double eagle gesture in their World Cup win over Serbia.

Arsenal Xhaka and Stoke City's Shaqiri trace their roots to Kosovo, a former Serbia's province with ethnic Albanian majority where thousands were killed during a 1998-1999 conflict between Serbian forces and ethnic Albanian guerillas.

The double eagle symbol represents the Albanian flag and is viewed as a symbol of defiance in Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008 in a move that Serbia still refuses to recognise. The players' gesture can be considered to be a nationalist symbol linked to and and risks creating political tension with the Serbs, reports Xinhua news agency.

The players' celebrations in the 2-1 win over Serbia in Kaliningrad on Friday caused outrage in Serbia.

FIFA, whose rules prohibit political symbols in stadiums, fined Xhaka and Shaqiri each 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,000 each) and Lichtsteiner 5,000 Swiss francs. They have also been warned over "unsporting behaviour contrary to the principals of fair play". following their celebrations

Nearly $27,000 were gathered less than 24 hours after on -- -- was launched.

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Kosovo said he had donated 1,500 euros, which is his monthly salary.

"They (players) were punished only since they did not forget their roots, they did not forget where they are coming from," Hasani said quoted by

"Money cannot pay the joy that Xhaka and brought us by celebrating with the eagle sign their goals during the Switzerland-Serbia match."

Shaqiri was born in 1991 in Kosovo and left it while he was one year old while was born in Switzerland in 1992 in a family originating from Kosovo.

Meanwhile, the were also fined 54,000 Swiss Francs ($54,681) for "discriminatory banners and messages by Serbian supporters as well as for throwing objects."

The President of the Federation was fined a further 5,000 Francs (5,063) for an interview in which he said referees were "directed" by FIFA to oppose Serbia and team coach

Switzerland and Serbia can both still qualify for the last 16 of

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The Swiss will play against Costa Rica today when Serbia play

First Published: Wed, June 27 2018. 21:10 IST