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Serbs make official complaint over referee in Switzerland defeat

By Paul Giblin MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) -- The Serbian Football Federation on Sunday confirmed that they have appealed to FIFA against the officiating of referee Felix Brych during their 2-1 defeat to Switzerland on Friday night.

The Serbs are angry at the performance of German referee Felix Brych, who they consider prejudiced their team with his decisions showing the Serbs four yellow cards to just one for the Swiss and turning down what looked to be a valid penalty appeal.

“We have submitted seven video recordings clearly showing Brych’s tendency to make decisions against our national team. The footage reveals Brych’s double standards in brandishing yellow cards, as he was quick to book our key players while he didn’t do the same in similar situations at the other end,” said the Serbian Football Federation in a communique.

“The most glaring poor decision was not awarding Serbia a penalty for a foul on Aleksandar Mitrovic with the score 1-1 and awarding the spot kick could have turned the match our way,” the communique continues.

The Serbs were especially angry Byrch didn’t use the VAR system to clarify the incident after Mitrovic appeared to be wrestled to the ground by two defenders.

“The whole world saw the penalty except Brych and it should have gone to VAR analysis. We are wondering why Serbia is the only team in the World Cup where the match official chose to ignore controversial situations at it raises the legitimate question whether the VAR is being used selectively,” they conclude.

The only yellow card for the Swiss was after striker Xherdan Shaqiri took his shirt off after scoring the winning goal.

FIFA have announced that both Shaqiri and the other Swiss goalscorer Granit Xhaka face disciplinary action after celebrating their goals with a hand-gesture in which they put their hands together to form a double-headed eagle, representative of the one on the Albanian flag.

This is a nationalist symbol linked to Kosovo and Albania and risks creating political tension with the Serbs, who do not recognise Kosovo’s independence.



Study shows social bonding key cause of football violence

LOS ANGELES United States (Xinhua) -- As World Cup fever sets in, increased football-related violence and hooliganism are global concerns. A new study shows that social bonding and a desire to protect and defend other fans may be one of the main motivations not only for football hooliganism, but extremist group behaviour in general, according to a new study, published this week in Evolution & Human Behaviour.

“Hooliganism is not a random behaviour,” Dr Martha Newson, lead author and Postdoctoral researcher at Oxford’s Centre for Anthropology and Mind, was quoted as saying in a press release. “Members of hooligan groups are not necessarily dysfunctional people outside of the football community; violent behaviour is almost entirely focused on those regarded as a threat - usually rival fans or sometimes the police.”

Previous work has proposed that sports-related hooliganism is an expression of social maladjustment e.g. previous episodes of violence or dysfunctional behaviour at home, work or school etc.

According to the new Oxford University research, canvassed 465 Brazilian fans and known hooligans, members of super-fan groups are not particularly dysfunctional outside of football, and that football-related violence is more of an isolated behaviour.

The research suggests that to reduce hooliganism and other forms of inter-group violence, efforts could be made to harness the extreme pro-group sentiments associated with identity fusion in more peaceful ways.

“Although we focused on a group of Brazilian fans these findings could help us to better understand fan culture and non-sporting groups including religious and political extremists,” Martha adds. “The psychology underlying the fighting groups we find among fans was likely a key part of human evolution. It’s essential for groups to succeed against each other for resources like food, territory and mates, and we see a legacy of this tribal psychology in modern fandom.”



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