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Republic of Ireland hit with Uefa charge over tennis ball protest

Supporters threw tennis balls onto the Aviva Stadium pitch during the game against Georgia on Tuesday.

Tennis balls on the Aviva Stadium pitch during the Euro 2020 qualifier between Republic of Ireland and Georgia.
Tennis balls on the Aviva Stadium pitch during the Euro 2020 qualifier between Republic of Ireland and Georgia.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

UEFA HAS OPENED disciplinary proceedings against the Republic of Ireland as a result of a protest from supporters which briefly interrupted Tuesday night’s game against Georgia.

Ireland were 1-0 winners in the Euro 2020 qualifier at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium thanks to a Conor Hourihane free-kick.

However, Hourihane’s taking of the kick was delayed for approximately two minutes after supporters threw tennis balls onto the pitch.  

The case in relation to the incident, which occurred in the 33rd minute of the game, will be dealt with by European football’s governing body’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary committee on Thursday, 16 May.

Irish fans were airing their grievances over the governance of the Football Association of Ireland, following recent revelations that John Delaney provided a €100,000 “bridging loan” — which was later repaid — to the FAI in 2017.

Shortly after last Saturday evening’s 1-0 win in Gibraltar, the FAI announced that Delaney had stepped aside from his position as Chief Executive to move into the newly-created role of Executive Vice-President. 

The FAI are being charged under Article 16 (2) of Uefa’s Disciplinary Regulations, which relates to the throwing of objects.

The article states that “all associations are liable for the inappropriate behaviour on the part of their supporters and may be subject to disciplinary measures and directives even if they can prove the absence of any negligence in relation to the organisation of the match.”

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Paul Dollery

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