Arsenal star Xhaka set to dodge Fifa punishment for celebrations after Switzerland's World Cup win over Serbia | The Sun

GRANIT XHAKA is set to dodge a Fifa bullet despite bending their ban on political protests.

The Switzerland skipper celebrated Friday’s stormy 3-2 win against bitter rivals Serbia by donning his country’s number 26 shirt with the name Jashari.

But Xhaka denied that it was a reference to Adem Jashari, the founder of the Kosovo Liberation Army who was killed by Serbian police in a battle for national independence in 1998.

And he insisted he was simply sharing the joy with Swiss squad player Ardon Jashari, even though the rookie midfielder did not even leave the subs’ bench.

He said: “There is no political thought behind the shirt at all. Ardon is a boy I really like and spend a lot of time with every day.

“At his age I was almost as far as he was and he asks for a lot of advice from me, so I promised him that if we won I’d put his jersey on.”


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And as unconvincing an explanation as that might sound, it is almost certainly not going to land him in hot water with Fifa, despite an appeal being broadcast during the match calling for an end to discriminatory gestures and chants.

Xhaka has always been a strong champion of Kosovan independence as a result of his father Ragip being imprisoned and tortured for six months for taking part in a demonstration in the former Yugoslavia.

And he was involved in a running battle with the Serbs on Friday night in a match which ended with 11 yellow cards and referee Fernando Rapallini struggling to maintain control.

The controversial Arsenal captain sparked a mass pitch invasion by the entire Serb subs’ bench when he grabbed his meat and two veg and appeared to aim a comment towards back-up keeper Predrag Rajkovic.

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It was Rajkovic whose wife was rumoured to be having an affair with team-mate Dusan Vlahovic, a suggestion which the Serb striker has vehemently denied.

Xhaka was also at the heart of the stoppage time bust-up which saw him being grabbed around the throat by goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic and threatened by Aleksandar Mitrovic and Nikola Milenkovic.

Serb boss Dragan Stojkovic was also spotted by TV cameras celebrating his side’s first-half equaliser by allegedly screaming: “F*** your Albanian mother in the p****” at one of the Swiss players.

But he tried to play down all the controversy after the game, insisting: “When there is so much tension, bad words can sometimes create some uncomfortable behaviour. 

“But it was normal for this kind of game, nothing special.”

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