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FAI stays silent over Irish player punched in face claim

THE FAI is maintaining its silence over allegations that a senior Irish international soccer player was punched in the face during a row at a hotel.

The alleged incident happened while the team was staying at the Portmarnock Hotel in north Co Dublin in the run up to Ireland's Euro 2012 qualifier against Macedonia in Skojpe earlier this month.

A report over the weekend claimed that a well-known member of the squad was punched in the face by a member of the Ireland team staff.

"Not making any comment, thanks," a spokesman for the FAI told the Irish Independent when asked about the incident.

It was claimed that the incident happened following an argument over a guest who was at a party with a number of the players at the hotel. Players became annoyed when the guest was asked to leave.

It is alleged that staff became involved in a row with players over socialising and the agreed curfew for the stay at the hotel, which was being used as the Irish headquarters for a number of games.

Following a number of disagreements, it is alleged that the staff member lost his temper and punched one of the footballers in the face, knocking him to the ground.

It is understood that he was not seriously injured and that gardai were not called. Calls and messages to the hotel went unreturned yesterday.

Prior to the match against Macedonia, the players had been staying in the hotel for three weeks during the Nations Cup tournament at the Aviva Stadium.

High emotions between players and staff have been a feature of Irish football in recent years.

During the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, Roy Keane famously walked out following a spat with manager Mick McCarthy in Saipan over training conditions.


Irish Independent