Serbia charged over locker room Kosovo flag at World Cup Published duration 5 July 2011
media caption The locker rooms in the Serbian team hotel in a hotel from the Kosovo province
A soccer referee has been charged for wearing a Kosovo flag at the World Cup.
The referee who was in charge of a second match in Serbia was charged for wearing a flag of a territory that’s part of the former Yugoslavia.
The flag, which Serbia said was to keep spectators entertained, was part of a competition called “Cookie” organised by the Kosovo association with the help of FIFA.
The charges have not been confirmed by FIFA.
The game between Serbia and Nigeria, which was the first to be played, ended as a 1-1 draw and the match was eventually awarded to Serbia by the two referee assistants, who handed the match to coach Zoran Ljubičić shortly before half time.
After the match, FIFA told Serbian media that the flag had not fallen into the hands of the referees.
FIFA said “the flag was not attached to the referees’ body and, therefore, cannot be considered a part of their uniform or a part of the kit during the match.”
Serbia denied the flag was part of any official equipment. “It is not a flag, it is not a flag,” said Serbian FA president Milorad Dodik.
The flag is part of the official kit for all World Cup teams, but it is not specifically approved by FIFA.
In 2005, Serbian club Partizan was fined by FIFA for playing in Kosovo during a friendly game against Turkey.
The flag was displayed to mark Partizan’s first match in the country since independence from Yugoslavia in 1998.
The flag has since been adopted by football association associations in Serbia, including the Serbian FA and Football Association of Kosovo.
The tournament is being held in Canada and is billed to be the biggest ever.