Tuesday 17 January 2017

England could face 2018 World Cup ban for fans' anti-IRA chant

Published 13/05/2015 | 16:08

Controversy: The England band sparked controversy by playing music to anti-IRA songs during the game with Scotland at Celtic Park last November
Controversy: The England band sparked controversy by playing music to anti-IRA songs during the game with Scotland at Celtic Park last November

England could be banned from the next World Cup under a new FIFA initiative if their fans continue to chant anti-IRA slogans at matches.

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The Football Association is at risk of being punished as early as the historic friendly in the Republic of Ireland next month, following the unveiling of the world governing body’s anti-discrimination monitoring system at Wembley yesterday.

Any association whose supporters are found guilty of such behaviour faces sanctions that range from a fine of £20,000 all the way up to disqualification from a competition.

Many of the 2,000 England fans in Turin in March sang the anti-IRA chants during their 1-1 draw with Italy, a particular concern with England playing in Dublin on June 7 for the first time since a Lansdowne Road friendly was abandoned following a riot organised by right-wing England fans here in 1995.

Piara Powar, a member of Fifa’s task force against racism and discrimination, revealed to the Daily Telegraph the governing body was considering instructing him to send an observer to England’s first match in Dublin since violence forced the abandonment of a friendly there 20 years ago.

“'No Surrender To The IRA’ comes from a point which is extreme nationalism. It’s about conflict between two states. That then would be reported. We would be making reports as often as our experts feel there is a case to answer. Then it’s down to Fifa," Powar said.

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