Fifa has opened disciplinary proceedings against Serbia on three counts relating to their stormy World Cup defeat by Switzerland.
Serbia lost Friday’s game 3-2 and were eliminated from the World Cup. They are already under an existing investigation for displaying a flag that included Kosovo in their nation’s territory in their dressingroom before facing Brazil eight days previously; now the governing body has begun a new set of cases for incidents that occurred during and around a match whose tensions steadily ramped up.
A Fifa statement read: “The Fifa disciplinary committee has opened proceedings against the Football Association of Serbia due to potential breaches of articles 12 (misconduct of players and officials), 13 (discrimination) and 16 (order and security at matches) of the Fifa disciplinary code related to incidents during the Serbia v Switzerland World Cup match that took place on 2 December.”
A public address announcement in the 77th minute of the game had asked the crowd to refrain from “discriminatory chants and gestures”. An eyewitness later alleged that Serbia supporters had displayed fascist slogans and aimed racist chants towards ethnic Albanians at Stadium 974 and claimed to have been set upon by a group of fans.
Eleven players, seven of them Serbian, were booked during a game that overspilled after a confrontation involving the Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka. He appeared to grab his genitals in front of the Serbia bench after they had appealed for a second-half penalty, causing tempers to flare on both sides. Xhaka was also involved in a late confrontation with the Serbia player Nikola Milenkovic that sparked a similar fracas.