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Irish FA 'disappointed' over £12k FIFA fine after poppy row

IFA to take legal advice 'before deciding on a future course of action'

The Irish Football Association and counterparts in England, Scotland and Wales have been fined by world governing body FIFA following last month's poppy row.

The Football Association was handed the largest punishment, with a fine of 45,000 Swiss francs (£35,350) for several incidents including the wearing of poppies on armbands by players, falling foul of Fifa rule 4.4 concerning political, religious or commercial messages at football matches.

The Scottish Football Association and the Football Association of Wales were fined 20,000 Swiss francs (£15,711) and the Irish Football Association 15,000 Swiss francs (£11,783) for related offences.

Meanwhile the Republic of Ireland have been fined 5,000 Swiss francs (£3,929) for the display of a political symbol on the shirt during their friendly match against Switzerland.

A three-man disciplinary committee, consisting of former Switzerland international Claudio Sulser, USA representative Mike Edwards and Tunisia delegate Mahmoud Hammami, met in Zurich earlier this month to discuss the charge levelled against the Irish FA - that on November 11 at Windsor Park, ahead of the World Cup qualifying match between Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan, there were “several incidents involving the display of poppy symbols”.

The chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, Mr Sulser, said: “With these decisions, it is not our intention to judge or question specific commemorations as we fully respect the significance of such moments in the respective countries, each one of them with its own history and background.

“However, keeping in mind that the rules need to be applied in a neutral and fair manner across FIFA’s 211 member associations, the display, among others, of any political or religious symbol is strictly prohibited.

“In the stadium and on the pitch, there is only room for sport, nothing else.”

The Irish FA said it will examine the full written submission when it is released and will take further legal advice "before deciding on a future course of action".

"The Irish FA is disappointed that the FIFA disciplinary committee has reprimanded the association and issued a fine in relation to acts of remembrance at the Northern Ireland v Azerbaijan match on 11th November," the organisation added.

It had hoped players would wear a poppy on their shirts during the game, but after IFA Chief Executive Patrick Nelson had consultations with FIFA, it was decided on a different form of remembrance.

On the night, the players wore plain black armbands, there was a minute's silence before kick-off, a wreath was laid by members of the Royal British Legion, a poppy mosaic was displayed by fans in the Kop and the names of players connected with the Association who died during the First World War were also displayed on the big screen.

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