"The fact is..." - Ex-FIFA official claims Arsenal star could be handed harsh World Cup ban
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Switzerland captain Granit Xhaka is facing a potential ban for his gesture against Serbia at the World Cup, according to a former FIFA official.
Arsenal midfielder Xhaka caused controversy after appearing to grab his crotch in the direction of the opposing bench during Switzerland's 3-2 win over Serbia during the group stage in Qatar.
Victory for Switzerland saw them progress to the last 16, where they will face Portugal on Tuesday, while Serbia crashed out of the competition.
During the post-match celebrations, Xhaka was seen wearing a shirt with the name 'Jashari' on the back.
Asked afterwards what it meant, Xhaka claimed there was no "political background to it whatsoever" - stating it was for his Switzerland teammate Ardon Jashari.
However, it is also the surname of Adem Jashari - a founder of the Kosovo Liberation Army, a Kosovo Albanian separatist group that fought for independence from the former Yugoslavia.
Xhaka and his Swiss teammate Xherdan Shaqiri are both of ethnic Albanian heritage linked to Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
Xhaka facing potential ban or fine
Former FIFA and Premier League referee Keith Hackett claims Xhaka is now at risk of being banned, potentially ruling him out of a World Cup quarter-final if Switzerland beat Portugal.
"The fact is, he's not allowed to do that," Hackett told Football Insider.
"He's not allowed to raise his shirt, even after the game, and show any type of statement.
"Even if that's 'Happy Birthday' to his brother, sister or mother. You can't have messages on his undergarment.
"There will be retrospective punishment and he could be banned but I would expect a fine.
"The disciplinary panel at the World Cup is pretty quick at dealing with these matters, they meet almost on a daily basis."
It is the not the first time Xhaka has been involved in a controversial incident against Serbia.
Both he and Shaqiri were fined by FIFA in 2018 for make an eagle gesture, associated with Albania, after scoring against Serbia at the World Cup in Russia.
Former Kosovo president Behgjet Pacolli took to Twitter on Sunday to offer to pay any fine that Xhaka may receive over his latest gesture.
Meanwhile, Switzerland boss Murat Yakin said he will "wait and see" if action is taken against the midfielder.
"We will enjoy this moment, it cost us a lot of emotions and energy. It was a fair match," he said.
"Before the game a lot of people were talking about the situation but we were able to face that challenge.
"We are happy we are moving on. Everything else is speculation and we will wait and see."
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Granit Xhaka, Arsenal, Switzerland, Serbia, Football World Cup, Football, FIFA