Serbia, Saudi Arabia and Croatia have been hit with huge fines for breaking FIFA’s code of conduct, the world’s highest governing body for football. Serbia is in trouble for keeping the Kosovo flag in the dressing room. At the same time, FIFA has also punished Croatia and Saudi Arabia for breaking the rules.
Several countries made their debut after the breakup of Yugoslavia. Even though the days of civil war and genocide are over, the conflict between the new countries has not stopped completely. As Serbia still considers Kosovo as part of itself.
The incident started on the day of the match against Brazil in the group stage. The Serbian players covered their dressing room with a map of their neighboring country Kosovo all over with the flag of Serbia. It read No Surrender. A photo went viral on social media after Kosovo’s Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Hazrullah Cheku shared it.
According to the BBC report, the Kosovo Football Federation has officially lodged a complaint with FIFA. Where they termed the actions of the Serbian footballers as radical nationalist activities.
Kosovo is also a FIFA member country. And article 11 of FIFA’s disciplinary law calls for strict action against radical nationalist activities on the football field. Kosovo’s complaint says, ‘We never want such radical nationalist activities in football. I didn’t expect it at all on a big stage like the World Cup. We wish them punishment. So that they can no longer do such things.’ Serbia has to face punishment as the complaint is proven to FIFA. FIFA announced last Wednesday that Serbia has been fined 20,000 Swiss francs for this.
Note that Kosovo is one of the smallest countries in Europe. The country gained independence from Serbia in 2008. However, it is believed that such actions of the Serbians may further incite the existing instability of the past 23 years between the two countries. After gaining independence, Kosovo gained full membership of FIFA and UEFA in 2016.
Meanwhile, FIFA has fined the Croatian Football Federation 50,000 Swiss Francs. During the group stage match against Canada, Croatia fans gave messages that did not match the game. Saudi Arabia has been fined 15,000 Swiss francs twice for player misconduct in the group stage match between Argentina and Mexico.
Uruguay beat Ghana 2-0 in their last group stage match at the World Cup in Qatar. Despite this, the team was knocked out of the World Cup. After the match, Uruguayan players clashed with the referee.
At that time, Uruguayan defender Jose Maria Jimenez elbowed FIFA’s competition director. He didn’t stop there, shouting and calling the referees thieves in public. FIFA is watching Jimenez’s actions very closely. He may have to face a big punishment for such an act.
He can be banned for 15 matches. As a result, Jimenez may not be able to play for the country for about a year. Elbowing is considered physical abuse by FIFA. As a result, the amount of punishment is also going to be tough.