FIFA open disciplinary proceedings against Northern Ireland following poppy display
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FIFA open disciplinary proceedings against Northern Ireland following poppy display

FOOTBALL’S world governing body FIFA are investigating the Irish Football Association (IFA) following a poppy display against Azerbaijan earlier this month.

The IFA have vowed to ‘robustly defend’ such disciplinary charges, having been warned by FIFA prior to the match that any breach of regulations would incur punishment.

FIFA’s law 4, paragraph 4 states: ‘Equipment must not have any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images.’

Northern Ireland opted against wearing poppies or black armbands on their shirts, per FIFA’s rule, but organised a crowd display prior to the game instead.

A FIFA spokesman said: "The Disciplinary Committee decided to open proceedings against the Irish Football Association and the Football Association of Wales in relation to several incidents involving the display of poppy symbols reported after the matches Northern Ireland-Azerbaijan and Wales-Serbia respectively."

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In response, the IFA have insisted no wrongdoing took place and plan to dispute FIFA’s stance.

"The Irish Football Association will robustly defend the disciplinary charges that have been levelled against it by FIFA regarding acts of remembrance at the World Cup qualifying match between Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan on 11th November."

Meanwhile, England and Scotland defied FIFA by wearing armbands on their shirts bearing poppies when the two sides met at Wembley on November 11.

Both nations are also the subject of disciplinary proceedings.