€3,000 fine for Windsor Park firework, but no-one told IFA
Uefa have slapped a €3,000 fine on the Irish FA as punishment for the firework incidents during Northern Ireland’s Euro 2016 qualifying clash with Romania in June, when press photographer Darren Kidd was struck by a firework.
But they have yet to inform officials at Windsor Avenue. Nor has the penalty for Romania, whose fans hurled the firework, been disclosed.
The IFA sanction was confirmed to the Belfast Telegraph by Uefa and amazingly it was this newspaper which in turn informed both IFA President Jim Shaw and Chief Executive Patrick Nelson, as neither had received the details from the European governing body.
“Yes, it’s a €3,000 fine,” a member of Uefa staff told the Belfast Telegraph when asked to confirm details of the punishment. When asked if the IFA had been informed of the fine by Uefa, Nelson said: “No, but it’s nice to finally find out that’s what it is. It’s news to me. We’ve been waiting a while to find out.”
The Romanian FA have also yet to discover what fine they will face for their fans’ part in the incidents during the 0-0 draw on June 13.
Uefa said they were unable to divulge the information for that reason, but were happy to reveal the IFA’s penalty.
It is over two weeks since the matter was considered, with a single judge determining the punishment, which amounts to around £2,120.
The case involving the Swastika on the pitch at the Croatia v Italy match, which was also played on Saturday June 13, was heard on the same day and communicated via the Uefa website later that evening, but until now the IFA have been left hanging on.
Shaw said: "I have asked some people within Uefa, but nothing has been released and there has been no communication.
"Given the nature of the offence we expected any fine to be low; €5,000 or less.
"Although it didn't involve our supporters, as the home team we have to accept our share of the responsibility for the security at the game.
"Romania will also have to accept their share of the responsibility as it involved their fans.
"We were able to pinpoint, using video evidence, what part of the stadium the fireworks came from."
Shaw confirmed that the IFA will accept the punishment without going down the route of appeal.
Given Northern Ireland's clean record in terms of crowd behaviour, Shaw doesn't anticipate the need for heightened security around Northern Ireland's next home Euro 2016 qualifier against Hungary next month.
"You don't appeal fines that are as low as this one," said Shaw.
"There is no point, what it would cost to appeal the fine would be more than the fine itself anyway.
"Without knowing the full details of why in particular the fine was imposed, I don't believe there are problems with security at our matches.
"These fireworks can be the size of a large coin and it's impossible to cover everything in searches.
"There were 10 devices confiscated from Romanian fans, out of a crowd of around 700."