Republic of Ireland could face FIFA sanction over Easter Rising commemorative jersey

Football's world governing body says that players' equipment should not carry any commercial, political or religious messages

BY Cian Roche 12:18 Thursday 3 November 2016, 12:18 3 Nov 2016

The Republic of Ireland could face sanctions from FIFA after donning a commemorative 1916 Easter Rising emblem on their jersey during a friendly game against Switzerland earlier this year.

A spokesperson for world football's governing body confirmed to AFP that the organisation was considering taking action against the Republic of Ireland for wearing the jersey which celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Rising.

The game's laws state that players' equipment should not carry any commercial, political or religious messages, and the body have been strict with England and Scotland recently, stating that they were not permitted to wear a poppy on their jersey's during an upcoming World Cup qualifier.

The two football associations (The English FA and the SFA) appealed to FIFA however, given that they meet on Armistice Day - the traditional day for Britons to pay tribute to their war dead. The FA have decided that they will wear black armbands with the poppy on it to mark the occasion. 

FIFA general secretary Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura has stated that "any kind of sanction" could come as a result of the move which could include fines or points deductions. 

"We are standing shoulder to shoulder with the other home nations on this, we all feel very strongly," FA chief executive Martin Glenn told BBC Sport. "It's not a political symbol and I think most people would agree with us."

Damian Collins MP, chairman of the Commons' Culture, Media and Sport select committee, pointed out during an interview on BBC Radio 4 that Ireland were shown some leniency due to the fact that they were allowed to wear commemorative jerseys this year for the centenary of the Easter Rising, and has asked FIFA to "clarify" its position on the matter.

"I think it is insulting to people in this country to say a poppy is one of those sorts of symbols," he said. "I've seen as well, someone has shared with me on social media, an Ireland football shirt that has a special embroidery on marking the centenary of the Easter Rising.

"FIFA allowed that, so I think people will find it astonishing that the poppy's not allowed."

Ireland wore the jerseys during a friendly match with Switzerland ahead of the European Championships on March 25.


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