Martin O’Neill and James McClean avoid Fifa suspension
Pair both ‘issued a reprimand’ for comments made in the wake of 1-1 draw with Austria
Martin O’Neill speaks to referee Fernández Borbalán after Ireland’s 1-1 World Cup qualifier draw with Austria. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho
Martin O’Neill and James McClean have avoided a suspension from Fifa for comments made in the wake of Ireland’s World Cup qualifier draw with Austria.
According to a statement released by the FAI, the Ireland manager and winger have been “issued a reprimand” by the governing body, but will not face any further punishment.
Fifa opened disciplinary proceedings against the duo after they appeared critical of referee Fernández Borbalán following the 1-1 draw at the Aviva Stadium.
O’Neill said the Spanish official was “very poor,” while West Brom’s McClean said he had been “Austria’s 12th man,” after he disallowed a late Shane Duffy goal.
The news will be welcomed by Ireland, who will have their manager and one of their key players in the saddle for the crunch September qualfiers against Georgia and Serbia.
The FAI statement read: “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.”