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FIFA opens disciplinary proceedings against FAI over Easter Rising symbol

Published 05/11/2016

The FAI are considering their options
The FAI are considering their options

The Football Association of Ireland is pondering its response after FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings over a symbol related to the Easter Rising that appeared on the national side's shirts in March.

The Republic of Ireland wore special edition jerseys in their friendly against Switzerland on March 25 which included a logo marking the 100th anniversary of the uprising against British rule.

The FAI declined to comment when contacted by Press Association Sport but it is understood some form of response will be made before the first media session in next week's international break.

There has been surprise at the timing of the news, more than seven months after the incident in question but right in the middle of a row between the governing body and the English and Scottish associations over their planned use of the poppy logo.

A statement from FIFA in relation to the Easter Rising symbol 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."

Both the Football Association (FA) and Scottish Football Association (SFA) intend to press ahead with plans to commemorate Armistice Day by allowing players to wear black armbands embroidered with a poppy during the World Cup qualifier on November 11.

FIFA has stated that the poppy symbol would breach its rules regarding political, religious or commercial messages being carried on players' equipment, though the definition of what is or is not political remains fiercely debated.

The FA and SFA insist the poppy is a symbol of remembrance and respect and should not be regarded as political.

Damian Collins MP, chairman of the Commons' Culture, Media and Sport select committee, has petitioned FIFA over use of the poppy and admitted in an interview with the Irish Post on Thursday that he had drawn attention to the Republic of Ireland jerseys in those discussions.

"I wrote to FIFA earlier in the week about the poppy ruling and I followed that up with a further question, citing the friendly matches that the Republic of Ireland played as an example," the newspaper quotes Collins as saying.

"I just wanted to ask why that was allowed but they want to enforce a stiffer ruling against the wearing of a poppy.

"If it's a point of principle for FIFA, then the principle should apply universally.

"I don't have any issue at all with the Ireland players wearing commemorations for the Easter Rising, I just think the ruling against the poppy is wrong and inappropriate of FIFA."

It is not clear what the sanction will be for the FAI if it is found to have breached FIFA's laws, or what sanction would be imposed on the FA or SFA if they press ahead with their plans for the poppy armband.

Press Association

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