Alex Miescher, the secretary general of the Swiss FA (SFV) who questioned the motivations of players with dual nationalities during the World Cup, handed in his resignation on Friday.

This picture taken on June 23, 2018 shows Swiss football Federation general secretary Alex Miescher at Torpedo Stadium in Tolyatti also known as Togliatti, during the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament. - Miescher resigned from Swiss football federation after he initiated a debate on a ban of dual citizenship for players. After the elimination of Switzerland in the round of 16 of the World Cup in Russia Miescher had questioned in the press on the policy to follow on players with dual nationality in the Swiss team. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)
This picture taken on June 23, 2018 shows Swiss Football Federation general secretary Alex Miescher at Torpedo Stadium in Tolyatti also known as Togliatti, during the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament. – Miescher resigned from Swiss football federation after he initiated a debate on a ban of dual citizenship for players. After the elimination of Switzerland in the round of 16 of the World Cup in Russia Miescher had questioned in the press on the policy to follow on players with dual nationality in the Swiss team. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

He said he leaves the role “with a sense of gratitude, having experienced fulfilling years and making friends for life.”

In July, Miescher claimed players who had dual citizenship would not be as willing to fight until the end for Switzerland, suggesting they should bin their second country if they were opting to represent the Swiss.

“One might have to ask: do we want dual citizens?” Miescher said in interviews with Tages-Anzeiger.

“There should be a plan where players with several nationalities could be tied to the Swiss national team at an early stage. It’s an idea that has grown in meThe events with the double eagles have shown that there is a problem.

KALININGRAD, RUSSIA - JUNE 22: Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group E match between Serbia and Switzerland at Kaliningrad Stadium on June 22, 2018 in Kaliningrad, Russia. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
KALININGRAD, RUSSIA – JUNE 22: Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group E match between Serbia and Switzerland at Kaliningrad Stadium on June 22, 2018, in Kaliningrad, Russia. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

“We hear many promises. And then the player turns 21, and decides for another country because he sees greater chances for international appearances,” said Miescher.

“I find it shocking that we have no leverage there. Such a player has taken away a very valuable, expensive training place…Maybe we could say that the doors to funding programs are open only to junior players who do not have dual citizenship.”

He added: “Today, we benefit from the strength of our national team. But if Bosnia, Croatia, Albania and certain African countries were present at a future World Cup, we could have trained many players for other nations.”

Granit Xhaka, as you know, is one of these dual citizens and he didn’t take Miescher’s comments too well.

“Even during the World Cup and after my double-headed eagle gesture, Alex Miescher approached us, assuring us that he would do anything to protect us – and then, three days after we left, such statements came from him,” Xhaka told Tagblatt.

“I hear from his lines that he does not trust double citizens to go to the borders for Switzerland. This goes directly to the address of me and a few others with two nationalities. It sounds to me as I said as if I and my colleagues in Swiss dress would not go to the limit.

KALININGRAD, RUSSIA - JUNE 22: Granit Xhaka of Switzerland celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group E match between Serbia and Switzerland at Kaliningrad Stadium on June 22, 2018 in Kaliningrad, Russia. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
KALININGRAD, RUSSIA – JUNE 22: Granit Xhaka of Switzerland celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group E match between Serbia and Switzerland at Kaliningrad Stadium on June 22, 2018, in Kaliningrad, Russia. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

“Three days after we have suffered a bitter defeat in Russia, you just do not do that.

“For me and certainly for affected teammates, it is strange to hear such comments from Alex Miescher. We are all Swiss and give our all for Swiss Nati – each of us – because we all know and are grateful for what Switzerland has done for us and our families. My family roots are in Kosovo – as they are for Breel Embolo in Cameroon, Manuel Akanji in Nigeria and Ricardo Rodriguez in Chile and Spain. 

Switzerland's midfielder Granit Xhaka celebrates scoring during their Russia 2018 World Cup Group E football match between Serbia and Switzerland at the Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad on June 22, 2018. (Photo by Attila KISBENEDEK / AFP)
(Photo by Attila KISBENEDEK / AFP)

“The Swiss national team consists today anyway of 50 to 60 per cent double citizens or Secondos. Even our boss Vladimir Petkovic is a dual citizen and gives blood and sweat for the national team. With this unnecessary foray, Alex Miescher has caused a lot of frowns but also disappointed many.

“I think Alex has certainly questioned his Stone Age comments aimed at Swiss dual citizens.

The Swiss FA also distanced themselves from Miescher’s remarks at the time.

In a statement, they said, “The Swiss Football Association (SFV) has never spoken out against multiple citizenships or dual citizenship status.

ROSTOV-ON-DON, RUSSIA - JUNE 17: Granit Xhaka of Switzerland shows appreciation to the fans after the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group E match between Brazil and Switzerland at Rostov Arena on June 17, 2018 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
ROSTOV-ON-DON, RUSSIA – JUNE 17: Granit Xhaka of Switzerland shows appreciation to the fans after the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group E match between Brazil and Switzerland at Rostov Arena on June 17, 2018 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

“The cited statements are from a one-hour conversation between SFV General Secretary Alex Miescher and journalists from the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and 20 Minuten / Tages-Anzeiger after the World Cup group matches in the restaurant of the Torpedo Stadium in Togliatti (Rus, site of Swiss Team Base Camps during the World Cup finals 2018).

“The SFV regrets that the impression arose that he was against dual citizens or multiple nationalities and was not correct or even discriminatory against double citizens in Switzerland.

“The most serious is that the focus is on footballers who are already playing for Switzerland. Currently, in particular, those footballers who have just returned to the World Cup in Russia for all of our country and before the SFV was always protective when there was debate about their identification.

OPSHOT - Switzerland's defender Manuel Akanji looks dejected at the end of the Russia 2018 World Cup round of 16 football match between Sweden and Switzerland at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg on July 3, 2018. Sweden won 1-0. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP)
OPSHOT – Switzerland’s defender Manuel Akanji looks dejected at the end of the Russia 2018 World Cup round of 16 football match between Sweden and Switzerland at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg on July 3, 2018. Sweden won 1-0. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP)

“In the context of the SFV interest in the context mentioned two questions in particular: How can we better protect our national players from events such as the World Cup group match Serbia – Switzerland on 22 June 2018? And: How can we be even more concerned that junior top footballers with multiple nationalities, after cost-intensive funding by the SFV, only play for the A national team of Switzerland?

“These questions have been the subject of discussions in various sections of the SFV for years. Various ideas were discussed, including the possibility of examining adaptations of the relevant FIFA regulations or the idea of obliging players to join the national team at an early stage (for example, by contracting or renouncing multiple nationalities when recruiting or taking part) of young footballers in the SFV training programs). A corresponding decision was not made.

ROSTOV-ON-DON, RUSSIA – JUNE 17: Granit Xhaka of Switzerland talks with Gabriel Jesus of Brazil after he went down in the penalty area during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group E match between Brazil and Switzerland at Rostov Arena on June 17, 2018 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

“The SFV wants to accompany players even better who play with our teams for titles for Switzerland, but then at 22 years are often exposed to considerable pressure because they are to play for another country – and possibly against Switzerland.

“The SFV still does not want to neglect the promotion and training of junior footballers who do not have a second country to choose from.

“Essentially, the SFV wishes a fair and respectful treatment of its national players and national players and less black and white painting, that is: much praise, if they play successfully, but charge of missing identification, if it does not run as desired.

“The SFV continues to promote integration and inclusion at all levels.”