Shkodran Mustafi avoids FA punishment over controversial goal celebration

Shkodran Mustafi will not face retrospective punishment by the Football Association for his goal celebration in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Cardiff City.

The German defender, born in Germany to an Albanian family from Macedonia, celebrated his 11th-minute goal by locking his open hands together at the thumbs and ‘flapping’ his fingers.

The gesture resembles – and is understood to be a reference to – the double-headed eagle on Albania’s national flag.

Mustafi made the gesture towards assister Granit Xhaka, another Arsenal player with Kosovar-Albanian heritage.

Given the FA’s regulation regarding political statements in the game, Mustafi risked punishment for his celebration but the organisation has opted not to take action against the defender.

During the World Cup both Switzerland’s Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri were both disciplined for celebrating in the same manner against Serbia.

Following a short investigation, Fifa fine Xhaka and Shaqiri “for unsporting behaviour contrary to the principles of fair-play during their goal(s) celebrations at the match Switzerland vs. Serbia.” Stephen Lichsteiner was also fined having joined in with the celebrations.

Tensions remain high between ethnic Albanians and nationalist Serbs in Kosovo. Kosovo’s Albanian-majority political institutions declared independence in 2008 but, a decade on, the territory is still not recognised by Serbia.

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