FIFA said it will investigate the Football Association of Serbia after an image of the flag depicting Kosovo as part of Serbia was displayed in the team’s dressing room.

FIFA has launched an investigation after photos emerged of a Serbian nationalist flag hanging in the football team’s dressing room when it played against Brazil at the World Cup.

The outline of Kosovo can be seen on the flag below the Serbian national colours. Albanian-majority Kosovo claimed independence from Serbia in 2008 and is now a FIFA member, but Serbia does not recognize its sovereignty.

“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has opened proceedings against the Football Federation of Serbia over a flag hanging in their dressing room on the occasion of Brazil v Serbia,” FIFA said in a statement on Saturday.

“The procedure has been opened on the basis of Article 11 of the FIFA Disciplinary Law and Article 4 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Regulations.”

The Football Federation of Kosovo (FKK) said it “strongly condemns Serbia’s aggressive actions against Kosovo”.

“The World Cup is an event of joy and unity, it should send messages of hope and peace, not messages of hate,” the FFK said in a tweet. “We call on FIFA to take action against such actions.”

The flag with the inscription “We do not surrender” was also raised in the stadium by several Serbian fans during the opening 2-0 World Cup defeat Thursday against Brazil in Qatar.

The image of the flag went viral on social media when it was shared by Hajrulla Ceku, Kosovo’s Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports.

“Shameful images from the Serbian dressing room, showing hateful, xenophobic and genocidal messages towards Kosovo while exploiting the FIFA World Cup platform,” Ceku said on Twitter, referring to the country by Albanian name.

“We expect concrete actions from FIFA, as the Kosovo Football Federation is a full member of FIFA and UEFA.”

The picture of the flag in the dressing room, which hung above the jerseys and lockers of defender Milos Veljkovic and midfielder Andrija Zivkovic, does not show a player.

Veljkovic plays for Werder Bremen and a spokesperson for the Bundesliga club told Deichstube’s website that the player only found out about the photo after the match.

When the Serbian players returned to the dressing room, there was no flag there, the spokesman added.

Serbia, which lost 2-0 to Brazil, will play against Cameroon on Monday. Their football association (FSS) did not respond to requests for comment.





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