Saturday 21 October 2017

English FA warns supporters against anti-IRA chants

The English Football Association (FA) is to email some 3,000 travelling English fans ahead of their June 7 friendly with Ireland, warning them not to chant
The English Football Association (FA) is to email some 3,000 travelling English fans ahead of their June 7 friendly with Ireland, warning them not to chant "F*** the IRA"

Henry Winter

The English Football Association (FA) is to email some 3,000 travelling English fans ahead of their June 7 friendly with Ireland, warning them not to chant "F*** the IRA".

The FA are appealing for good behaviour and have warned that any repeat of the chant could see individuals banned and Fifa sanctions against England.

In an internal memo circulated within the FA detailing its plans for Dublin, the organisation acknowledges "a distinct deterioration in England fan behaviour" recently.

So far this season, 18 members of the England Supporters Travel Club (ESTC) have been suspended and another 46 "officially warned" about "inappropriate behaviour".

These were mainly in relation to incidents during an August trip to Basel for the Euro 2016 qualifier with Switzerland and a friendly with Italy where the IRA chant was widely used.

In adopting what it calls "a sensible, responsible and long-term approach", the FA lists its immediate aims as "to stop offensive chanting by England fans, specifically anti-IRA songs; educate ESTC members as to what is deemed acceptable behaviour around matches; (and) improve general behaviour of England fans abroad".

As England prepare to visit these shores for the first time since right-wing fans rioted during a 1995 Lansdowne Road friendly, the FA says it's engaged in an unprecedented security operation, including a centralised ticket collection point, and a "passport surrender" for those subject to banning orders.

Some England fans bound for the Aviva Stadium in Dublin have already asked the FA what its stance will be if 'God Save The Queen' is jeered.

An FAI spokesperson said last night that an "upcoming announcement in relation to the anthems will go a long way to ensuring the anthems won't be interrupted".

Irish Independent

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