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Shaqiri (90')

Fans start online crowdfunding appeal for Switzerland 'Albanian eagle' trio

Fans start crowdfunding appeal for Swiss trio
© Reuters
An online crowdfunding campaign is launched to pay the fines of Switzerland trio Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri and Stephan Lichtsteiner for their 'Albanian eagle' gestures.

An online crowdfunding campaign has been launched to pay the FIFA fines of Switzerland players Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri and Stephan Lichtsteiner.

The trio were fined by the world football governing body for their 'Albanian eagle' gestures in the 2-1 win over Serbia on Friday.

Critics claim that the gesture is a nationalist symbol which risks inflaming tensions in the Balkans among Serbians - who do not recognise Kosovo's independence - and ethnic Albanians.

Xhaka and Shaqiri - both ethnic Albanians - were each fined 10,000 Swiss francs (£7,632), while Lichtsteiner was fined 5,000 Swiss francs (£3,816).

The crowdfunding appeal, set up because the trio "brought joy and happiness to all Swiss and Albanians across the globe", raised more than $16,000 of its $25,000 target within 18 hours.

Organisers of the appeal have stated that they will donate the money raised to charity if the Swiss Football Association rejects it.

Switzerland and Serbia can both still qualify for the last 16 of the World Cup, with their final Group E games set to take place simultaneously on Wednesday.

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Xherdan Shaqiri in action for Switzerland on June 8, 2018
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Swiss trio avoid bans for 'eagle gestures'
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