Local clubs are set to benefit after the Irish FA landed a €50k (£44.26k) prize from UEFA.
Northern Ireland have been announced as the winners of a Fair Play accolade for the 17/18 season, best improved in overall fair play score from one season to the next, progressing 0.513 points. What does that mean? Well it was enough to lift Northern Ireland to fourth place in the overall Fair Play rankings out of 44 countries.
The prize money will be donated to amateur or professional clubs of the Irish FA's choice for fair play or respect-themed projects.
Northern Ireland’s position on the UEFA list was based on 39 games played by the men’s and women’s international teams as well as men’s and women’s club sides and futsal clubs in UEFA competitions.
Finland took the award for overall fair play with 8.596 points, while the award for behaviour of spectators was won by the Faroe Islands. Finland finished first in the spectator behaviour rankings with 8.954 points but as they had won the award for the best overall fair play score the spectator award instead went to the Faroe Islands, who finished second in the rankings with 8.818 points. Northern Ireland’s spectators were ranked at 16th out of 44 teams.
The 2017-18 UEFA Fair Play rankings are based on fair play results obtained from all UEFA competition matches played at both club and national team level between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018.
The rankings are established through UEFA Fair Play reports which are completed after each match by UEFA match delegates in consultation with referees and referee observers. Criteria include the number of red and yellow cards, respect for opponents, respect for referee teams, behaviour of team officials and behaviour of spectators.
Only associations that have played a minimum of 36 matches were taken into account in the final rankings. The cut-off point is obtained by dividing the total number of UEFA matches by the number of participating UEFA member associations.