Xhaka, right or wrong? by Dan Smith
Not even 24 hours after scoring at the World Cup Xhaka was given the news that FIFA will be investigating him for ‘displaying a political message’, encouraged by Serbia and even some in the Swiss media.
The game’s governing body gets a hard time. To be fair to them on this subject, all players are made aware of their rules before a major tournament. Xhaka and Shaqiri knew what they were doing when their celebration of choice happened to be a gesture imitating an eagle. They are smart enough to understand that Serbian fans might not appreciate it. The thing is though there is big difference between knowing something and caring.
If you are born in Albania and have Kosovan heritage it’s safe to say you have not been educated to worry about what Serbia thinks of you. Xhaka’s brother plays for Albania, that’s how much his family see themselves as both nationalities. Their dad spent 3 years in a Yugoslavia prison being beaten when fighting Kosovo’s bid for independence.
So yeah in 2018 when you have freedom of speech an Albanian is going to find it extra special to get one over Serbia. That’s life. Your not exactly going to care about a nation’s feelings when they don’t even recognise the independence of Kosovo.
Dual nationalities can be complex but Xhaka shouldn’t feel ashamed to acknowledge where he came from just because another country might not like it. Making reference to the Albania flag may offend most in Serbia but that doesn’t mean it’s offensive.
If this was in a court of law it be hard to prove how Xhaka acknowledging his country can be deemed as disrespecting Serbia. Shaqiri is even having his football boots analysed as it had an image of the Kosovo flag, are we meant to believe that his footwear is now picked based on his political bias? Any individual in the world should be proud of where they are from and shouldn’t have to mask their emotions just because it might upset someone else.
If you were being booed by fans based on where you were born (Serbia press faied to mention this) would you care what they thought of your celebration?!
Mitovic had no right suggesting if these guys loved Albania and Kosovo so much why had they picked to play for Switzerland. They have a legal right to represent all three if it’s part of their heritage. I’m not going to be two faced. When England insisted on wearing poppies, we knew it was a breach of regulations and the FA were happy to take a fine for the price of sticking to their values. I never saw that as us trying to upset another nation just a celebration/pride in what we represent.
This is making front page news in Serbia, I’m not sure what they want FIFA to do in terms of justice. Of course the more Serbia fans, manager and the head of football talk about Xhaka, the less they are talking about a game they lost.
It’s them using football ahead of politics.