Republic of Ireland news

FAI could face sanctions over 1916 jersey

The Football Association of Ireland could face sanctions from FIFA over a jersey worn in March marking the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising. Pictured is Republic of Ireland player James McClean. Picture by Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Gareth McKeown

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THE Football Association of Ireland (FAI) is waiting to hear if it will face sanctions over a special jersey marking the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising.

World governing body FIFA said it is investigating shirts worn by Republic of Ireland players in a friendly against Switzerland in Dublin in March.

The lettering under the crest attracted controversy at the time, with DUP MLA Nelson McCausland describing it as an "uncritical endorsement" of the Rising.

The jersey was cited on Wednesday by Conservative MP Damian Collins when he accused FIFA of double standards following a ban on poppies being worn during next week's round of international fixtures.

"I have asked FIFA to clarify the issue over shirts worn by the Republic of Ireland because that appears to be an absolutely classic example of leniency being shown to other countries," he told the BBC.

FIFA said its "disciplinary committee is evaluating the matter” of the jerseys worn against Switzerland

It said that there is no specific date for a decision.

The FAI has not responded to the statement.

FIFA rules prohibit political, religious or commercial messages on shirts, but both England and Scotland players are set to defy the ban and wear black armbands bearing poppies when the two teams meet in a World Cup qualifier on Armistice Day next week.

Prime Minister Theresa May backed the English FA's stance on Wednesday, describing FIFA's position as "outrageous".

"Our football players want to recognise and respect those who have given their lives for our safety and security. It is absolutely right they should be able to do so," she said.

The Irish Football Association has also said "there will be an act of remembrance" at next Friday's World Cup qualifier between Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan in Belfast, but it is not clear at this stage whether they will follow the English and Scottish example.

In a statement the IFA said they were awaiting guidance from FIFA.

"There will be an act of remembrance at the game on Armistice Day," a spokesman said

"We have written to FIFA and are currently waiting their response as to what we are permitted to do under their game protocols. FIFA have said that they will come back to us today regarding our questions over remembrance and the game on 11th November."

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