Brady in the clear for play-off as FIFA take no action

Robbie Brady cleared Ireland World Cup play-off FIFA
Robbie Brady. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Robbie Brady will be available for the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup play-off after FIFA confirmed that they will be taking no action against the Burnley midfielder.

Brady was alleged to have been involved in a clash with Wales’ Ashley Williams in Monday night’s World Cup qualifier in Cardiff, which Ireland won 1-0 thanks to James McClean’s second half goal to reach the play-offs.

Television pictures appeared to incriminate Brady, showing his head making contact with Williams’ back, and FIFA launched an investigation in response.

The result of which exonerated Brady with FIFA deciding to take no further action, which clears him to now play in Ireland’s play-off.

No action

A FIFA spokesman said: “No action will be taken for such alleged incident.”

Like Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland are unseeded for next Tuesday’s (17 October) draw in Zurich, which will see them paired with either Switzerland, Italy, Croatia or Denmark in November’s two-legged showdown to reach next year’s World Cup in Russia.

Ireland have previously been involved in eight play-offs and won only three, although those three victories came in their last four play-offs.

Brady’s availability will be good news for Ireland boss Martin O’Neill, who might also be able to call upon Jon Walters.

The Burnley forward missed Ireland’s win over Wales with a knee injury, which was also expected to rule him out of the play-offs which take place between 9-14 November.

Robbie Brady cleared Ireland World Cup play-off FIFA
Jon Walters. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

However, Burnley manager Sean Dyche says Walters could still be involved.

Dyche said: “We are still not putting timescales on it. But it won’t be days, it will be weeks.

“We are hopeful it will settle down quickly. It already is.

“We were getting a specialist’s view of it, it needed a period to calm down. It’s a historical injury, a wear-and-tear injury and needed time to calm down.

“Once it has settled down, it’s getting strength through the knee and that’s where we are at.”

Nations League

Meanwhile, UEFA has confirmed the composition of the four leagues for the inaugural UEFA Nations League 2018-19, with the Republic of Ireland in League B alongside Northern Ireland and Wales.

The competition which will effectively replace friendlies will run from September to November 2018.

The competition will see four Leagues A, B, C & D, with teams placed according to their UEFA ranking.
League B: Austria, Wales, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine, Republic of Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Turkey.

Teams will be split into four groups of three.

The four group winners are promoted to League A, with the four sides that finish bottom relegated to League C for the next competition, to be played in 2020.

The top four-ranked League B teams that do not qualify for Euro 2020 will enter play-offs in March 2020, with one finals place on offer.

O’Neill’s side will know their opponents when the draw is made in Lausanne, Switzerland on 24 January.

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