Irish FA bid to block Kyle Lafferty playing for Rangers after Northern Ireland no show
The Irish FA have moved to stop Kyle Lafferty playing for Rangers at Hamilton on Sunday in the latest twist involving the controversial striker and Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill.
It is understood that O'Neill, fuming after Lafferty's late call off for the Nations League double-header against Austria and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the IFA decided to invoke Fifa's five-day rule which blocks players from featuring for their clubs if they miss an international.
The IFA, who sent an email to Rangers yesterday to inform them of their decision, believe that although Northern Ireland lost to Bosnia on Monday, the rule does not come into effect until the end of fixtures during an international period - that was last night.
The Rangers ace was said to be troubled by an Achilles issue, though it has been suggested Northern Ireland felt he should have travelled. Taking this unusual action is a serious shot across the bows of Lafferty. It shows how angry O'Neill still is about the situation and places more question marks over the forward's international future.
O'Neill had said before last weekend's international fixtures that he would not bring an immediate end to Lafferty's Northern Ireland career.
"It's not the case that his international career is hanging in the balance, but he certainly hasn't helped his international future," claimed O'Neill, who is likely to ask Bolton hitman Josh Magennis to lead his attack tonight.
"Of course he will get a chance to decide his future - unless he decides to retire from international football."