FIFA have opened disciplinary proceedings against Martin O’Neill and James McClean for comments they made about the referee in Ireland’s 1-1 draw with Austria.
Ireland felt they should have had a penalty for a foul on Jon Walters, and Shane Duffy controversially had a late winner ruled out at the Aviva, causing O’Neill and McClean to criticize the referee in post-match interviews.
McClean angrily claimed that Austria had a “12th man,” and O’Neill described David Fernández Borbalán’s performance as “very poor”.
After the game, Austria and Watford defender Sebastian Prodl even conceded that Duffy was unlucky to see his goal ruled out.
Ireland have crunch qualifiers with Georgia, Serbia, Moldova and Wales to come this year, but the duo could now receive a ban for their comments.
McClean has been a key player for Ireland since Euro 2016, and is the boys in green’s top scorer in the World Cup qualifiers.
“We can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been opened for such statements,” a FIFA spokesman said yesterday.
“Be informed that two cases were opened: one against James McClean and another one against the coach Martin O’Neill. Please understand that we can’t make any further comments since the matter is ongoing.”
O’Neill and McClean have until Friday to respond to the charges.