Reports have surfaced that some Serbian fans sang songs about killing Albanians during a World Cup match on Friday.
Serbia lost 3–2 to Switzerland that evening, as the defeat knocked the Southeastern European team out of the competition. Some Swiss players have family ties to Albania and Kosovo.
The protector reports that some Serbian supporters displayed fascist slogans on clothes and sang racist songs against ethnic Albanians during the match. The findings were supported by a fan at the 974 stadium in Doha.
Stadium officials hypocritical about rules
Hasan Rrahmani claimed that he had an Albanian flag confiscated by stadium officials prior to the match. The fan also said that while the flag was not allowed at the venue, other derogatory slogans on clothing were allowed in the stadium.
“I was stunned when I saw the number of fascist slogans, t-shirts and flags,” said Rrahmani.
He allegedly showed the outlet photos of a Serbian fan wearing a hat symbolizing the brutality of the Kosovo wars. The man in question was part of a larger group that also wore similar clothing.
Rrahmani claimed that some Serbian fans wore t-shirts with the slogan “Servia to Tokyo” on the chest.
This saying dates back to 1991 when Red Star Belgrade won the Intercontinental Cup in Tokyo, Japan. At the time, it was the greatest success that a team from Yugoslavia has ever produced.
However, the slogan has since been used by some Serbs to mock ethnic groups that started in the Yugoslav wars.
Abhorrent chants heard during the match
However, the songs were noticed by FIFA officials.
After 77 minutes, a public speech was made at the stadium asking for the chants to stop. However, Rrahmani says that the songs could be heard from the first minutes of the game.
Some of the Serbian fans’ chants were reportedly translated as “kill, kill, kill the Albanians” and “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia”.
Kosovo has been the subject of much debate in recent years. Although they officially declared independence from Serbia in 2008, Serbia does not recognize the decision.
Swiss stars Granit Xhaka and Xerdan Shaqiri previously made headlines when they did gestures reminiscent of the Albanian flag when they both scored against Serbia at the 2018 World Cup.
Serbia is also under investigation by FIFA for an earlier incident at the 2022 World Cup. They displayed a flag depicting Kosovo as part of Serbia with the words “we will not surrender” during their matchup with Brazil.
Photo credit: IMAGO/Agencia MexSport
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