FAI to face charges from football ruling body Fifa over Easter Rising jersey

Republic of Ireland's Ciaran Clark (right) celebrates scoring his side's first goal in the match against Switzerland in Dublin back in March. For the game players wore a jersey commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Gareth McKeown

THE FOOTBALL Assocication of Ireland is to likely to be hit with a fine after Fifa opened disciplinary proceedings over a special jersey marking the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising.

Football's world governing body confirmed it will reprimand the FAI after Republic of Ireland players wore commemorate jerseys in a friendly against Switzerland in Dublin in March.

A statement from Fifa read: "We can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been opened on this matter. Please understand we cannot comment further at this stage nor speculate on any outcome."

The FAI has not yet commented on the ruling but is believed to be seeking legal advice.

The jersey, which featured special lettering under the crest, 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 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.

It is feared the sides risk a potential points' deduction by opting to wear the armbands.

The Royal British Legion has written an open letter to Fifa urging it to lift its ban on the teams wearing the poppy.

The Irish Football Association (IFA) has also said that"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.

The IFA wrote to Fifa regarding their plans for the fixture and received a response on Thursday although no details have been disclosed.

"The Irish FA has received guidance from FIFA with regard to remembrance at the game between Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan on Armistice day. The matter will now be discussed within the association," a spokesman said.

Recent disciplinary actions taken by Fifa against other football nations have resulted in monetary penalties.

On Thursday the footballing body confirmed sanctions against nine International football associations for individual cases during recent World Cup qualifying matches.

These related to incidents involving discriminatory and unsporting conduct by fans, including homophobic chants.

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