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Men's Football Albanian PM opens account to help pay Shaqiri and Xhaka's ‘absurd’ fine

ALBANIAN Prime Minister Edi Rama has encouraged citizens to chip in a “symbolic contribution” to pay the fines Fifa slapped on Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri for making an inflammatory gesture during Switzerland’s World Cup group match against Serbia.

Rama opened an account, named “Don’t Be Afraid of the Eagle” after Albania’s double-headed eagle symbol, which the players tried to recreate with hand gestures after scoring.

Fifa have charged each player about £7,600 for the gestures, saying that they are politically provocative.

The pair are of ethnic Albanian backgrounds linked to Kosovo, a Serbian province that declared independence in 2008. Serbia, along with about two fifths of UN member states, does not recognise Kosovo as an independent country.

Fifa have the power to impose two-match bans if Xhaka and Shaqiri’s actions were judged to have provoked the general public.

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