Northern Ireland's football governing body wants urgent Fifa meeting over poppy fine

Northern Ireland supporters used cards to create the shape of a poppy
Northern Ireland supporters used cards to create the shape of a poppy before the game with Azerbaijan

The Irish Football Association says it wants an "urgent" meeting with Fifa after being fined £11,769 for poppies being shown at a World Cup qualifier.

Following a board meeting on Wednesday, the IFA has accepted it cannot appeal.

But it described Fifa's decision as "extremely disappointing" and will write to president Gianni Infantino to "seek clarity" on the issue.

Northern Ireland's fans formed a poppy mosaic and also laid a wreath before the Azerbaijan game on 11 November.

The Northern Ireland governing body was fined 15,000 Swiss francs for the Remembrance Day displays - and Fifa rules only allows appeals against fines above that amount.

However, the fines for the other home nations were all in excess of that total and the English Football Association is to appeal.

The English FA has been fined £35,308 for England players wearing black armbands bearing a poppy during the World Cup qualifier against Scotland.

Scotland's governing body was fined £15,692 for a similar rule breach with the Welsh FA also handed a £15,692 penalty for wearing plain black armbands in their game against Serbia.

England and Scotland poppies
England and Scotland players wore armbands bearing poppies during their World Cup qualifier on Armistice Day

The Scottish and Welsh governing bodies are understood to be waiting for the written reasons from Fifa before determining their next course of action.

With the four home nations all punished to varying degrees, there had previously been speculation they could join forces to challenge the Fifa fines.

In addition to fans forming the poppy mosaic and laying a wreath before Northern Ireland's 4-0 win over Azerbaijan on 11 November, a minute's silence also took place.

Fifa punished the Republic of Ireland (FAI) with a 5,000 Sfr fine (£3,930) after its players wore shirts commemorating the centenary of the Easter Rising during the friendly against Switzerland earlier this year.

International Football Association Board (IFAB) rules ban "political, religious or personal messages" on kits, while Fifa ground safety regulations say "the promotion or announcement of political or religious messages" in stadiums is "strictly prohibited".

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