Football

Massive Boost For Ireland And Free Speech As James McClean Free To Face Georgia

Massive Boost For Ireland And Free Speech As James McClean Free To Face Georgia

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill and winger James McClean have escaped suspensions by FIFA after comments they made after the draw at home to Austria in June.

FIFA had opened disciplinary proceedings against the Derry men after they had both criticised the referee, Fernández Borbalán after the 1-1 draw, and while the FAI have been reprimanded by FIFA for the comments, neither manager nor player will face any personal punishment.

O' Neill was upset that Shane Duffy's had a legitimate goal chalked off which would have secured Ireland a vital three points, and put them top of group D going into their four remaining qualifiers and McClean, who spoke to RTE after the game labelled the referee, 'the 12th man'.

The FAI released a statement confirming that the duo will escape a punishment,

The Football Association of Ireland has accepted FIFA’s decision to issue a reprimand to both Martin O’Neill and James McClean following disciplinary proceedings.

FIFA launched their inquiry following comments made by Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill and midfielder James McClean in the aftermath of the 1-1 draw with Austria in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier on June 11.

The ruling by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee came following a breach of Article 57 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code and Article 4 of the Regulations of the 2018 FIFA World Cup for ‘unsporting behaviour’.

There will be no further comment made on the matter.

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It is a massive relief to have McClean available, as he tops the scoring charts for the campaign so far, and will be needed for a massive game in September, as Ireland travel to Tbilisi to face Georgia on September 2.

The last time Ireland faced Georgia, Aiden McGeady scored a vital an injury time winner which proved decisive in our qualification for Euro 2016.

If they can come away with a victory, it will set up a mouth watering clash three days later in the Aviva stadium when Ireland take on Serbia, who currently top group D, though only on goal difference.

Luckily both manager and star player will be available for one of the most crucial weeks for Irish football in recent years.

James Carroll

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