Xhaka and the Switzerland players celebrated scoring against Switzerland | Reuters

Switzerland fans have started a crowdfunding appeal to pay the fines imposed on three Swiss players at the World Cup in Russia.

Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri and Stephan Lichtsteiner were fined by Fifa for their ‘double-headed eagle gesture’ celebrations in the win over Serbia.

Xhaka and Shaqiri were fined 10,000 Swiss francs (£7,632) and Lichtsteiner was fined SFr5,000 (£3,816).

The appeal raised more than $16,000 of its $25,000 target within 18 hours.

The gesture made by the players symbolises the Albanian flag, which carries the image of a double-headed eagle.

Xhaka and Shaqiri are ethnic Albanians from Kosovo, where a Serbian crackdown on the Albanian population ended with Nato military intervention in 1999.

The crowdfunding appeal was set up because the trio “brought joy and happiness to all Swiss and Albanians across the globe”.

Organisers of the appeal say they will donate the money raised to charity if the Swiss Football Association rejects it.

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