Ireland may be kicked out of Euro 2016 over 1916 jersey row
Ireland may be sensationally kicked out of this summer’s European Championships after a row with UEFA over the team’s 1916 jersey.
Uefa delivered the hammer blow to Irish fans and the team after a late-night meeting at their HQ in Switzerland.
Ireland took on the Swiss at Aviva Stadium on Friday night with a shirt featuring a special crest that commemorated the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising.
Uefa had given Ireland the all-clear to wear the one-off badge but it seems some Swiss officials at the game raised the matter with Uefa in recent days as they felt it broke the regulations regarding ‘political messages’ in the game.
Article 14, sub section 7 of Uefa’s Disciplinary Regulations states that ‘All forms of ideological, political and religious propaganda are forbidden’.
Over the past few days FAI officials have been arguing that the badge had no ideological or political meaning and was only meant to commemorate a significant anniversary but the powers that be at Uefa are believed to be getting cold feet about allowing the badge in the first place and are considering booting Ireland out of this summer's competition in France.
A similar row erupted over the same badge being displayed on the turf at Bray Wanderers last week. Fifa and the FAI asked the club to remove it before they played Sligo Rovers.
Speaking exclusively to the Sunday World, Uefa disciplinary chief Daryl Solopfia did not sound like a man for turning.
“We cannot allow this sort of behaviour to creep into football. There is no place in our game for pride in your country or respect for history.
“If this was a shirt released just to make more money we could understand but they are not even making it available for the fans to buy. This sort of disregard for the rules, and for making extra cash, goes completely against Uefa’s ideals for how the game should be run.”
The exclusion of Ireland would mean that Bosnia and Herzegovina, who we beat in the play-offs for the tournament, would take our place in France.
Head of their FAI Prvi April was clearly overjoyed by the news, if a little unprepared.
“I’ll have to cancel our summer holidays now. The missus will kill me,” he told our reporter.
Republic of Ireland management team Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane were unavailable for comment but there are unconfirmed reports this morning of a man with a large beard and another man in glasses attempting to break into the GPO.