Why are Serbia (and FIFA) making such a big deal of Granit Xhaka’s celebration?

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.

Dan Smith


  1. This is a world where we find it easier to find something different from someone than we do to find something in common. And throughout the last 100+ years that has led to some horrible situations.

    If we can watch those situations happen then there is no reason why we can’t watch someone celebrate like that either. While football isn’t political – it’s better that these points are made in a football field rather than a battlefield.

  2. My take, though I have not seen this, is that it is immature and plain daft to do anything that an even half normal IQ person should know will cause an unnecessary fuss. I am not surprised in the least about Xhaka or Shaqiri being involved, as neither of them have ever shown much maturity or respect for others in my opinion. I could never imagine such mature sensible folk as Gerrard, Lampard, Kane , etc doing this (were they of the same nationality). I consider them immature, rather than bad people but football clubs, least of all ours , need immature players like a hole in the head. As I have often said,extreme financial wealth is often an indication of lack of basic hiuman sensitivity. Not always but OFTEN.

    1. Ok Serbia has a problem with you being alive so should we kill you right now or risked being called immature by letting you live. Its their right to celebrate their nationality unless they do something vulgar like piss on the Serbian flag.

      Old man like you always see youngsters who do not follow your rules as immature. Oh your mature mancrushes put the poppies on their shirts everytime which surely offended those whose family were killed by them. How immature of them right?

      1. How dare you or the writer bring the poppy into this discussion. The poppy is a mark of respect to everyone, irrespective of nationality, who has given their life in conflict. It has nothing to do with nationalism or country, just respect for the fallen. If you think otherwise you are an ignorant fool.

        1. I know what they represent but some might not. You are the ignorant media sheep that is being led to believe what that sign represent for xhaka. Maybe he did for his father who was tortured by Serbian so poppies for you is equal to sign for him.

          1. Since when has football had to be about politics
            Since when has football had to be about religion
            But YOU ACKSHAY are a F***ING DISGRACE OF A HUMAN.This is an English Football Club.This is an English Site.This site through its owner welcomes every Arsenal Supporter and their views on Arsenal Football Club.What you have done is attack a player on religious and political grounds that have nothing to do with football.
            The Poppy is a mark of respect recognised across the world as a symbol of peace for mankind.The Poppy was from the Battlefields of Flanders in the First World War.The First World War came about when a Serbian Murdered an Austrian.Do Countries refuse to play Serbia because of this?
            No.But idiots like you are the reason for the world we live in today.
            Admin will most likely ban this post.But to Let yours on will show a hypocrisy that I just cannot abide.

            1. If you think that Serbian murdering Austrian was enough of a reason for WW1 you should try to find additional information. If that was the case, why would England, France and Russia enter the war on the same side as Serbia. That assassination of crown prince was just a trigger for Austria to attack Serbia, although it happened in Sarajevo (Bosnia&Herzegovina) by a member of Young Bosnia movement, fighting for freedom from Austria.

              I think that Poppy and Eagle sign that Xhaka and Shaqiri showed can’t be compared in any way, since the poppy is symbol for internationally recognised holiday, while two headed eagle is a symbol for nationalist movement for creation of Great Albania.

              1. I don’t need to find information pal as I know my history.Look it up.The assassination triggered the First World War

                1. Assassination led to ultimatum, which was almost accepted and then new conditions were given to Serbia, leading to Austria declaring war, then Russia joining on Serbian side, Germany on Austrian, France, England on Serbian snd so on…
                  My point was that assassination was just a trigger, not the reason. Reason was Austria’s wish to occupy territories from which Ottoman empire was withdrawing.
                  No disrespect intended, especially since I agree with your comments above

          2. Ackshay, I never mentioned what Xhaka did at all but totally understand why he did it. My issue with you is bringing the poppy into the same article, as it has no relevance at all. It is not a political sign, it’s for rememberence of the fallen in conflict. Respect for those who gave their lives.

            1. Poppy /remembrance Sunday is a practice created and led by 53 of the common wealth nations
              There is more then 53 nations in the world
              Most is South America and Asia don’t celebrate it, heck some in Ireland don’t believe in it
              China asked David Cameron to remove his poppy when visiting
              Like any nation if you live somewhere , propoganda is all around us. We been educated to believe that Poppy remembers all those who lost life’s in battle but it’s intention was focused on those from the 53 nations of the Common wealth
              I believe in the Poppy but it’s not up to us to say we are representing every country in the world
              Any way back to football lol

    2. “Jon Fox” I don’t know who you are but you certainly have become a subservient, sycophantic, slavish “yes Sir, No Sir, 3 bags full Sir” head bowed no questions asked walking on egg shells, “Its not for us to ask why but just to do and die” trapped within the “Stockholm Syndrome” of the establishment .

      Wake up! You have a voice. Your examples of “Gerrard, Lampard and Kane” vis a vis Xhaka and Shaqiri background which led them to the “controversial salute” … Are you serious ? “Gerrard, Lampard and Kane come from “middle class” families and grew up within the salubrity and protection of Mother England with all the “civil liberties” under “statues” of home and “ECHR”.

      Read up on History through the “dark ages” to today; how the common man had to stand up and be counted to change the “Laws of the Land”.

      You “Jon Fox” is truly ignorant and a Slave. Reminds me of the 1967 TV series of “The Prisoner” with Patrick McGoohan (Number 6) “I am not a number, I am an Individual”! ; “Emily Davison” fighting for “The Vote for Women” “The Trade Unions”, “William Wilberforce” against Slavery; Mahatma Ghandi against Racism and oppression by the British in India; Martin Luther King USA , Mandela against Racism in SA; The Black Rights movements in sport today and so many more struggles for “Freedom & Equal rights”.

      Brilliant, Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri, the “free world” is fully behind you.

      Omar . K.

      1. Seems you are less an expert on Balkan politics than a fan of Neil young … Let’s keep to the footie … We need to sell xhaka and bring in a quality midfielder .. Making eagle signs ain’t no substitute for his utter mediocrity in both games in World Cup or more importantly his poor performances for us over last couple of seasons … Emery still carries the feel good factor from departure of wenger but it is a finite resource

        1. What’s is the big deal about the celebration by Xhaka and Shaqiri anyway? I know a Nigerian footballer, Yakubu Ayegbeni, who used to celebrate his goals that way. He played for Everton and Portsmouth among other clubs.

      2. Are you on mind bending drugs? Or perhaps I should re-phrase that to read “You are on mind bending drugs.” What a waste of a possible intellect.

  3. I etched the game and it’s the first time in two years I was impressed with Xhaka

    Off topic I’m watching Columbia and Rodriguez works a lot harder than ozil

    1. James and Quintero are proper attacking mids and aren’t just passengers. Also show up when the team needs them most. Sorry, but can’t believe people still rate Ozil when there are so many better options out there. I’m still not over the fact we’re paying him 300k a week.

      1. Ozil isnt half the player James is, the Colombian
        was sublime the entire game and completely
        bossed the Polish midfield. His tireless work
        rate is what seperates him from Ozil.

        Any chance Madrid would consider a like 4 like
        trade? ??

  4. Who remembers these:

    Juan Sebastian Veron, Javia Saviola, Javia Zeneti, Gabriel Batistuta, Daniel Ortega, Requeme, Redondo, Diego Semione, Crespo, ……….

    1. Sorry can’t help with the scorpion but if you want to see a crab I highly recommend Iwobi – side to side, side again, side to side and then some side ways movement. And it all begins again with some side to side movement. Can you go forward – no because side to side is better.

        1. I bow down to your professional career.

          Oh wait I don’t because you didn’t have one ???

  5. It’s not normally a big deal, but I guess in today’s PC, snowflake generation, pretty much anything is deemed offensive, racist, xenophobic, etc. Bye bye freedom of speech!

    1. Fortunately for me, I’m in a position where I don’t care who I offend, in fact in can be fun at times, just to see their reaction, I only do this if their preaching their self righteous, namby pamby, pc bullcrap.

      1. Good for you mate-I’m a bit like you and I don’t teally care much if my views are taken one way or another to be honest.But this is a FOOTBALL SITE.
        Anything other than Football should NEVER be allowed

  6. He had a good game, which is what’s important. Don’t care about the celebration. Hope Emery can get him scoring more goals like that.

  7. Whats your real name Dan Smith?
    That would explain direction of your article. It will be easy to find out why you are writing this on this Arsenal forum. Google will put you on one side cos your article is just directed for Xhaka and the other one.
    Please read FIFA instructions and you ll find out that they will be banned for two games.

  8. …why this article is here at all?
    Hello Admin, you let politics enter this forum with articles who are clearly one sided albanian propaganda.
    I am sick of albanian mafia in my country and as I heard they are groving in EU every day, so I informaed myself who they are and whats their goal.
    Xhaka and the otherone sings with two palms conected in the albainan eagle is not just a show of albanian national pride but it is a sign for Great Albania: Albania with Kosovo and big parts of nearby countries where albanian population is spreading by reproducing much faster then others as a part of a political agenda.

    1. You start off very good with questioning the idea of bring political views in here followed by dropping a shit of anti-albanian propaganda yourself. Albanian mafia(should be eradicated like all terrorism groups irrespective of nationality or race) and Albanian people are 2 different things and your views is kinda racist since you group them all as shit.
      If xhaka and shaqiri were promoting terrorists shame on them but if they were promoting their innocent people I applaud them.

      1. I have nothing against albanians. I talked about their mafia and quest for Great Albania. Ask any nation in the region (not just serbs) arround Albania and Kosovo and I bet 99% will tell you the same as they told me.
        I believe my friends and not politics and please read again this and some other articles by so called Dan Smith and ask yourself why he or she is writing this? On JustArsenal Forum?

    2. Just thought it start a conversation
      Fact you wrote a rant is a compliment to my article , it made you care
      It is you have made this political
      I think you can tell by my name I have no reason to spread Albanian propoganda
      I even write I’m English
      At no point did I mention my views on Serbia or any other country
      I just think a player has the right to reference his flag. If Serbia or you don’t like that then it’s not his problem
      By way in 2018 it’s freedom of speech . Jumping on the political /racism card is a weak debate

      1. Do not write on things you have no full picture of.
        They were not referencing their flag.
        Your topic has nothing to do with Just Arsenal!

        1. They made a shape of an animal on their flag so ……. That’s the flag bit
          Xhaka plays for Arsenal …… So that’s the Arsenal bit
          Also I been allowed to do the World Cup diary and this happend at the …… World Cup
          If you don’t like . Just don’t read once you see the tilte .
          Thanks for caring enough to comment though

  9. I think the most immature person in this group is Jon fox, @ first I thought may be he’s just a teenager displaying some level of naivity and emotions, buh when I realized that dude is really an adult seriously I became short of words,how he call pple names who shares different opinions to his is ridiculous and disgusting, if he’s not calling them stupid, he will be calling them mmature etc, what an absolute rubbish, if u think some one displaying the sign of the national flag of his country of origin is immature bcoz some one tag it politically related then how come we sing national anthems before a match? Football is an emotional game, any day we take away emotions from football, then it’s dead and buried lemme remind him if he has forgotten, how the dude use every post here to abuse arsene winger is terrible and uncalled for , but lemme remind him, Arsene wenger was honored with the highest honour in France (legion d honour) just being a coach, Arsene wenger still remains among the just few foreigners that has bn decorated with OBE IN England, just being a coach, recently arsene wenger has bn mentioned in the house of commons and will soon be honored with knighthood just being a coach, the same useless coach was crowned world best coach for a decade (10 whole years) the same useless coach still remains the record holder of onze d’or(best coach in Europe) for a record 4 times more than the likes of Sir Alex and Johan cryuf of the blessed memory,That useless coach will always be recognized as one of the greatest coaches in the history of football, now I want to challenge Jon fox to tell us what he has achieved in his whole miserable life, Before u come here and Call arsene wenger failure, pls show us ur score cards,in as much as we all want emrry and the new management team to succeed Buh it’s very bad to keep Disrespecting the greatest manager in our history who gave us trophies, created wealth for us and gave us fame with a brand of football loved and appreciated all over the world, the golden trophy and 49matches unbeaten run which still stands till today will always be a huge bragging right for us!

    1. Oh Dear! CALM DOWN and try to understand what is known , at least in free countries , as free speech. I was under the distinct impression that I mentioned only two Swiss footballers, three ex-footballers and no ex-Arsenal manager, in my post. Or perhaps you can find some hidden words, not apparent to lesser mortals?

    2. Uchman, yh Wenger was great for us, but your complete love for Wenger has blinded you from the fact that Arsenal was going stale.

  10. Less than a quarter of a century ago there was a genocide in Srebrenica. Then there was the Kosovan war during which many Kosovans were killed and tortured. Some Serb leaders were put on trial for war crimes. There is no way anyone could or should forget genocide and war crimes that happened in our time. Xhaka did nothing wrong. His father was imprisoned and tortured. Who would forget that.

    1. I belive you are an Albanian, but if you are not, I will explain some things to you. In Srebrenica there was not genocide, it was a fabricated event, just like Račak was in Kosovo. There were lots of crimes commited on both sides, but none of the crimes commited by Albanians and Croats were punished, simply because America was suporting them, and Russia was supporting Serbia.
      Many Serbs were killed in the Bosnian war, and especially In Kosovo. The Albanian liberation fighters were killing kids and taking organs from Serbian prisoners, google it.
      Research, before you make a one-sided comment.

      1. Sad Marko
        You are in denial. So sad. The truth of Srebrenica is a reality. Maybe you are a Holocaust denier too. You should study all the material available on Srebrenica. It tells one of the saddest stories in European history. No I am not Albanian. Just an honest man. Should we deny Kosovan suffering? No!

        1. I did study, did you? From what sources did you study? I am not denying there was not a massacre in Srebrenica, but the final death toll is fabricated as a lot of already dead soldiers were counted, and there were some other events which were iregular when “genocide” was determined. Why did I quote genocide? Because by the classifications, it is not a genocide as number of people killed does not fit in the definition of genocide. Also, you would be suprised what the local Bosnians would tell you.
          I am not denying holocaust, I don’t want to deny suffering of anyone, I just want the truth. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories but neither do I believe official government reports (refering to any government). I also try to understand the other side since mentioning casualties of only one side can be disrespectful to the victims of the other side.

    2. His father was imprisoned and as you say tortured in the 1980s when that country was called Yugoslavia, and he was imprisoned for taking part in violent demonstrations and attacks on Serbian people and property.

      Before you give your opinion on genocides and Kosovars killed and tortured just compare ethnic structure of these areas in 1970s and now, and you will see which ethnic groups suffered the most

  11. Admin I think you should delete this artist or lock it. It is becoming too toxic because some are too small-minded.

  12. Sterling having a gun tattoo on his leg to remember his father who was gunned down is OK.
    Xhaka’s eagle sign to remember his ‘mother’land not ok?
    please mpeni break…

  13. Fifa is ridiculous and all of this stems from the Serbia protest, was it an insult to the nation Serbia for two individuals of Albanian descent made hand signs of the Albanian 2 headed eagle.

    If they had said f— Serbia then i could understand, a team losing a match should just keep their mouth shut and move on to the other game. The media played their part in over-hyping the incident and is the reason why so much attention is drawn to the players involved.

    I think what should be done is instruct the players not to celebrate in such a manner and move on with the football.

  14. FIFA needs to grow up. Why stop at these two, lets ban the Icelandic from doing the viking clap because somebody might not want to be reminded of when their ancestors were raided. Also as an animal rights activist I am offended by Cavani’s hunter celebration, how barbaric!!! Politics, conflict and difference of opinion exist in the world, deal with it. A Zimbabwean cricketer of African origin once took to the field wearing a black arm-band during the World Cup in England to protest the discriminatory policies of Robert Mugabe. He probably suffered repercussions back home but don’t think he got into any trouble with the cricket governing body over expressing his political opinion.

    1. exactly there’s someone who gets it, viking clap is vaguely similar to the shield banging vikings would do before attacking in ancient times. they did attack england and killed many people yet i don’t see any englishman complaining when they did the clapping vs england in the euro 2016.

      Lol the country who REFUSED to accept kosovo independence dares to whine about their feeling hurt. bunch of crybabies will know how it feels when russia refuse their independence and invades their country again.

      1. wow, you compare apples and oranges.

        Refused to accept Kosovo independence??? That is like saying Spain is refusing to accept Catalonia independence.

        Comment on crybabies is ignorant, from the contest I guess you are talking about Serbia. Just showing you have no idea what you are writing about stating Russia invading their country again, since that never happened for the first time so it can’t happen again

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