Northern Ireland poppy display subject to FIFA disciplinary action
The Irish Football Association has said it will 'robustly defend' the disciplinary charges
The Irish Football Association has said it will "robustly defend" disciplinary charges being brought against it in relation to the display of poppy symbols during their recent international.
The governing body announced the move despite the Irish Football Association and the Football Association of Wales agreeing their players would not wear poppies to mark Armistice Day during their matches against Azerbaijan and Serbia respectively.
England and Scotland defied FIFA regulations by wearing armbands featuring a poppy when they met at Wembley and are already the subject of disciplinary proceedings.
Northern Ireland and Wales instead wore plain black armbands, but it seems they have still fallen foul of FIFA rule 4.4 concerning political, religious or commercial messages.
A FIFA spokesman said: "The Disciplinary Committee decided to open proceedings against the Irish Football Association and the Football Association of Wales in relation to several incidents involving the display of poppy symbols reported after the matches Northern Ireland-Azerbaijan and Wales-Serbia respectively."
The Irish Football Association has said it will "robustly defend" the disciplinary charges.
In a statement it said: "The Irish Football Association will robustly defend the disciplinary charges that have been levelled against it by FIFA regarding acts of remembrance at the World Cup qualifying match between Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan on 11th November."
At the time IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson said his organisation was "committed to marking Armistice Day with appropriate acts of remembrance".
"We asked Fifa if permission could be granted to wear a poppy on the shirt or on an armband," he said.
"Based on law 4.4 of the laws of the game 2016/17, Fifa advised that they could give no guarantee that there would not be disciplinary proceedings if the Northern Ireland team was to wear a symbol of remembrance on the playing shirt.
"As a member of IFAB, we have placed clarification of law 4.4 on the agenda for the next annual general meeting of the International Football Association Board, which will be held in London in March."
Belfast Telegraph Digital