Belfast Telegraph

Romania fined over Windsor Park firework attack at NI Euro qualifier

By Steven Beacom

The Romanian Football Federation has been fined 17,000 euro by Uefa for 'incidents' during the European Championship qualifier against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park on June 13, which left a press photographer injured.

The Belfast Telegraph can reveal that the Uefa punishment has been handed down due to 'crowd disturbances' and the displaying of an 'illicit banner' from Romania fans at the Group F fixture which finished 0-0.

At the match local photographer Darren Kidd was injured when a firework hit him. Video evidence showed it came from the Romanian section of the crowd and Uefa's sanctions and the reasons given for them suggest they believe that to be the case.

Earlier this month the Irish FA were fined only 3,000 euros (£2,120) in comparison over the firework incident.

When asked for detail about the punishments for the Romanian Football Federation, a Uefa official stated that the 'crowd disturbances' specifically related to 'pyrotechnics and the throwing of objects'.

The 'pyrotechnics' equals fireworks and the 'throwing of objects' are understood to include paper rolls being hurled around the stands by Romanian supporters at Windsor Park.

The illicit banner was said to show 'messages of a political nature' which were written in Romanian.

Any political messages at a football match are frowned upon by Uefa.

The Romanians have received the Uefa judgement and have a few days to decide if they will appeal.

When their case was being heard the Irish FA used video evidence to show that the firework that hit Mr Kidd had been thrown from the Romanian section.

The IFA, who felt at worst they would receive a small fine, decided not to appeal their punishment from Uefa.

Mr Kidd suffered neck and ear injuries and needed medical treatment. He is now recovering from those injuries.

Romania and Northern Ireland are well placed to qualify for the Euro 2016 finals. The Romanians top Group F on 14 points with Michael O'Neill's side in second on 13. Hungary are third on 11.

The top two automatically make it to next year's finals in France with the third placed team guaranteed a two legged play-off.

There are crucial games next month with Northern Ireland away to the Faroe Islands on September 4 before hosting Hungary on September 7, exactly 10 years after David Healy struck a famous winning goal against England in Belfast in a World Cup qualifier. Hungary are at home to Romania on September 4.

The group leaders will then take on Greece in Bucharest a few days later. This series of matches will go a long way to determining who will qualify.

Belfast Telegraph