Kosovan fans are crowdfunding to try and pay the fines of Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri and Stephan Lichtsteiner, after the trio were punished by FIFA for their goal celebrations.
After the equaliser and the eventual winner for Switzerland against Serbia, the trio celebrated by making the symbol of the Albanian eagle with their hands. It was a reference to Shaqiri and Xhaka’s Kosovan-Albanian ancestors, and a show of defiance against Serbia, with Lichtsteiner joining in as a show of solidarity.
FIFA ruled that the gesture was “unsporting behaviour contrary to the principles of fair-play”, and fined the Xhaka and Shaqiri 10,000 Swiss Francs, and Lichtsteiner 5,000.
Clearly Kosovans were touched by the gesture, as they’re now trying to pay those fines. They set up a gofundme page, trying to raise $25,000 (roughly equivalent to 25,000 Swiss Francs). 15 hours in, and they’ve already managed to reach $14,157, and that figure is rising all the time.
In all likelihood, the Swiss Football Association isn’t going to accept the money. They’ll want to respect FIFA’s decision and avoid any further trouble. In that case, the campaign will donate the funds to a charity of the association’s choosing.
Given the players are all millionaires anyway, the fines aren’t substantial enough for them to need any help. It’s more about the message the fans are sending, that they stand with their Swiss representatives on the pitch.