celtic sympathy | 

Wolfe Tones singer blasts ‘unfair’ UEFA fine for Up the Ra chant

"Things like this should be defended because really they’re trying to frighten people from singing Irish songs,” Brian Warfield has said.

Republic of Ireland head coach Vera Pauw© PA

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

Wolfe Tones singer Brian Warfield has slammed the decision to fine the FAI after the Irish women’s team were captured singing ‘Up the Ra.’

The squad was in hot water in October when viral footage showed them chanting the song following their World Cup qualifier.

UEFA have now told the FAI to pay €20k for what they called a violation of “the basic rules of decent conduct.”

Speaking to Newstalk’s The Hard Shoulder yesterday, the Wolfe Tones member called the fine “totally one sided and unfair.”

"Things like this should be defended because really they’re trying to frighten people from singing Irish songs.

"When you have Jeffrey Donaldson and Arlene Foster who are both trying to divide Ireland and they get accolades from England like ‘Sir Jeffrey’ and ‘Dame Arlene’.

“So, you have all these things going on at the same time and unionist politicians are very, very vocal in protesting against anything that is republican,” he said.

The Wolfe Tones’ Celtic Symphony – that includes the lyrics chanted by the Irish squad in the dressing rooms – shot to number one on the Irish charts and number two in the UK charts after the controversy.

Dublin-born Warfield has defended their singing ever since, previously saying the women’s squad were being “persecuted and bullied.”

He had said: “What the hell is wrong with IRA? It is the Irish Republican Army. It is the people who put us here and gave us some hope when we had no hope.”

Warfield, who wrote the song, also described anyone who criticised the lyrics as “cranks and unionists.”

In the aftermath of the viral video, manager Vera Pauw apologised for the dressing rooms chants: “We will review this with the players and remind them of their responsibilities in this regard. I have spoken with players this morning and we are sorry collectively for any hurt caused, there can be no excuse for that.”

Republic of Ireland head coach Vera Pauw© PA

In a later interview with RTÉ, Pauw said if she had been aware of the significance of the song, she would have addressed it immediately.

“It's quite right that it's taken some shine off because this goes deep into the history of Ireland,” she said.

The FAI has conceded that it “notes and accepts” the fine from UEFA.

"The FAI and the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team has apologised to all affected by events after the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifying Play-Off against Scotland in Hampden Park in October,” it said in a statement.

“The FAI has assured UEFA that all players and staff across all of our international teams have been, and will continue to be, reminded of their responsibilities every time they represent their country.”

The 1-0 win over Scotland has put the Irish women’s team into the World Cup for the first time.


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