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Uefa hit FAI with €10,000 fine over tennis ball protest

The European governing body’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body were watching events at Lansdowne Road last month.

Darren Randolph removes tennis balls from the pitch.
Darren Randolph removes tennis balls from the pitch.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION of Ireland have been fined €10,000 by Uefa over last month’s tennis ball protest at the Aviva Stadium. 

The Euro 2020 qualifier against Georgia on 26 March was interrupted in the 33rd minute as some fans threw tennis balls onto the Aviva pitch in protest at the FAI. 

It was staged following prior revelations that then-CEO John Delaney had given the FAI a €100,000 bridging loan in April 2017 and had his €3,600-per-month rent paid for by the FAI during a period of time in which some staff suffered pay cuts. 

In the aftermath of the qualifier win against Gibraltar the previous Saturday it was announced that Delaney had assumed a new role, entitled Executive Vice-President, following a review conducted by Jonathan Hall Associates. 

Uefa’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body today confirmed that they have fined the FAI €10,000 for the “throwing of objects” onto the pitch. 

There has been considerable upheaval in Irish football since the protest, with John Delaney stepping aside from his role pending an FAI investigation. Honorary treasurer Eddie Murray and Honorary Secretary Michael Cody have resigned, with the rest of the Board intending to step down at the AGM in July. 

The crisis-hit Association have had their State funding withheld by Sport Ireland for failing to disclose fully the details of the 2017 loan, are subject to an investigation by the Office for the Director of Corporate Enforcement, and are also engaged in reviews by Grant Thornton and Mazars – the latter extensive and set to look into issues including credit card spending and third-party transactions. 

When asked earlier this week whether further protests would be a consequence of this upheaval, Irish manager Mick McCarthy responded by making reference to the initial tennis ball protest. 

“Has that not already had its consequences, that one? Was that what the protest was about? It would appear to me that the consequences are that things are changing.”

Gavan Casey and Murray Kinsella are joined by Andy Dunne to get stuck into last weekend’s Champions Cup semi-finals.:

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Gavin Cooney

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