FIFA said it would investigate the Serbian Football Association after a picture of a flag showing Kosovo as part of Serbia was hung in the team’s dressing room.
FIFA has launched an investigation after images of the Serbian national flag appeared hanging in the soccer team’s dressing room when they faced Brazil in the World Cup finals.
The Kosovo outline can be seen on the flag under the Serbian national colours. Albanian-majority Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and is now a member of FIFA, but Serbia does not recognize its sovereignty.
“FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee has opened proceedings against the Serbian Football Association for displaying a flag in their dressing room on the occasion of Brazil’s match against Serbia,” FIFA said in a statement on Saturday.
“The proceedings were opened on the basis of Article 11 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code and Article 4 of the FIFA World Cup 2022 Regulations.”
The Kosovo Football Federation said it “strongly condemns Serbia’s aggressive actions” against Kosovo.
“The World Cup is an event of joy and unity, which should send messages of hope and peace, not messages of hate,” FFK said in a tweet. “We call on FIFA to take action against such measures,” he added.
The flag with the inscription “We do not surrender” was also displayed by many Serbian fans in the stadium during the opening 2-0 World Cup defeat Against Brazil in Qatar on Thursday.
The image of the flag went viral on social media when it was shared by Hajirullah Seko, Kosovo’s Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports.
“Disgraceful images from the locker room in Serbia, displaying hateful, xenophobic and genocidal messages towards Kosovo, while exploiting the podium of the FIFA World Cup,” Çeko said on Twitter, referring to the country by its Albanian name.
“We expect concrete actions from FIFA given that the Kosovo Football Federation is a full member of FIFA and UEFA.”
– Hajrulla Çeku (HCeku) November 25, 2022
No player could be seen with the flag in the dressing room, which hung over the shirts and lockers of defender Milos Veljkovic and midfielder Andrija Zivkovic.
Veljkovic plays for Werder Bremen, and a spokesperson for the Bundesliga club told the Deichstube website that the player only discovered the image after the match.
The spokesman added that when the Serbian players returned to the dressing room, there was no flag hanging there.
Serbia, who lost 2-0 to Brazil, play Cameroon on Monday. The Football Association (FSS) did not respond when asked about the suspension.