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Flag controversy: FIFA initiated disciplinary proceedings over Serbia

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Flag controversy: FIFA initiated disciplinary proceedings over Serbia
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TOI photo.

Doha: Before the FIFA World Cup 2022 match between Serbia and Brazil, the former's squad had hung their flag, including a map which had added Kosovo as part of their country, sparking a controversy.

Now, FIFA has started disciplinary proceedings against the Serbian football federation, Agence France-Presse reports.

After photos of the Serbian squad's changing room surfaced with the controversial flag, the Kosovo football federation (FFK) filed a complaint with FIFA. In the photos which featured the flag, the slogan there will be no surrender" was also written.

In 2008, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. But Serbia has not recognised the free nation of Kosovo, a former Yugoslav province with a majority of Albanians.

FIFA said in a statement that its disciplinary committee had started proceedings against the Serbian football association for displaying the controversial flag in their changing rooms on November 24 ahead of the Brazil-Serbia match.

The disciplinary code of FIFA bans offensive behaviour and violation of the principles of fair play" and "using a sports event for demonstrations of a non-sporting nature", AFP quotes.

On Friday, Kosovo's minister for sports, Hajrulla Ceku, expressed his extreme displeasure on the incident via Twitter. He tweeted that the disgraceful images from the Serbia locker room convey hateful, xenophobic and genocidal messages.

"We expect concrete actions from FIFA considering that (Kosovo) is a full FIFA and UEFA member," he tweeted.

FFK also released a statement condemning the act. Calling it a chauvinist act, it said that such an act has no place in sporting events, particularly where the biggest football event takes place.

"It is unacceptable that this act is passed over in silence, and we insistently demand that FIFA strictly apply its rules and punish the Serbian football federation for this aggressive act contrary to the values that football transmits," AFP quoted from the statement

It was 2016 Kosovo joined FIFA and the European confederation UEFA.

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TAGS:controversySerbiaFIFA WC 2022 Qatarflag
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