Serbia In Trouble Over Kosovo Flag

Fifa has opened disciplinary proceedings against Serbia’s football association after its team hung a controversial flag depicting Kosovo in their dressing room prior to their World Cup defeat by Brazil.

The flag showed an outline of Kosovo filled with the Serbia flag, with the words ‘no surrender.

Tensions are running high between ethnic Serbs and the Albanian-led government in Kosovo, amid fears violence could flare up again, 23 years after the Kosovo war.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 but Serbia – an ally of Russia – does not recognise it as an independent country.

On Friday, the Football Federation of Kosovo (FFK) submitted a complaint to Fifa, football’s world governing body, over Serbia’s “chauvinistic rhetoric”.

In a statement, it said: “Such acts of chauvinism have no place in a sports event, and even less inside the facilities where the biggest event of world football takes place, therefore FFK, as an equal member with all other members of Fifa, demands from this institution to undertake sanctioning measures against actions that incite hatred between peoples and are against human values.”

It added: “It is unacceptable for this act to pass in silence, therefore we strongly request that Fifa strictly implement its rules and punish the football federation of Serbia for this aggressive action and against the values ​​that football conveys.”

Kosovo’s sports minister, Hajrulla Ceku, said it expected “concrete actions” from Fifa against Serbia’s “hateful, xenophobic and genocidal messages”.