FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against the Serbian football federation after the team hung a controversial flag depicting Kosovo in their changing room before their loss to Brazil at the World Cup.
The Kosovo football federation (FFK) filed a complaint with the governing body after photos showed a version of the Serbian flag with a map including Kosovo as part of the country and stamped with the slogan “there will be no surrender”.
Kosovo, a former Yugoslav province with an Albanian majority, declared independence from Serbia in 2008, which Belgrade refuses to recognise.
“The FIFA disciplinary committee has opened proceedings against the football association of Serbia due to a flag displayed in their dressing room on the occasion of the Brazil v Serbia FIFA World Cup match played on 24 November,” FIFA said in a statement.
FIFA’s disciplinary code prohibits “offensive behaviour and violation of the principles of fair play” and “using a sports event for demonstrations of a non-sporting nature”.
Kosovo sports minister Hajrulla Ceku on Friday tweeted his anger at “disgraceful images from the Serbia locker room, displaying hateful, xenophobic and genocidal messages.”
Ceku added: “We expect concrete actions from FIFA considering that (Kosovo) is a full FIFA and UEFA member.”
Kosovo joined FIFA and European confederation UEFA in 2016.
“Such a chauvinist act has no place at sporting events and even less inside establishments where the biggest world football event is taking place,” the FFK said in a statement.
“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,” it added.