Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Ferguson set to play for Northern Ireland in Russia despite red card

The Irish FA will exploit a loophole to allow Shane Ferguson to make his competitive international debut against Russia next Friday.

There were fears that the red card Ferguson received in the under-21 qualifier against Macedonia back in May would rule him out of the opening World Cup fixtures, thus denying manager Michael O’Neill the services of a talented player who has started all three games under his charge.

The Newcastle United man, who scored the opening goal in the 3-3 draw with Finland a couple of weeks ago, will however be free to play in Moscow.

The different disciplinary systems which govern the separate competitions mean that the three match suspension handed out by Uefa only covers under-21 games and while Ferguson will serve a ban when Stephen Robinson’s side face Macedonia in the return game at the Oval on Friday week, he can take part in the Fifa governed World Cup campaign.