Football: Charlton gets touchline ban

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The Independent Online
JACK CHARLTON, the Republic of Ireland manager, has been banned from the touchline for his side's decisive final World Cup first-round match against Norway on Tuesday.

'Fifa's disciplinary committee banned Charlton from sitting on the bench for the next game as a result of his constant misbehaviour during the first two games,' Guido Tognoni, a spokesman for world football's governing body, said yesterday.

Fifa considers Charlton had been shouting too much abuse at officials during the matches against Italy and Mexico. At the Giants Stadium in New Jersey on Tuesday, for a game from which his charges need at least a point to be sure of qualifying for the second round from Group E, Charlton will have to sit in the stands.

The flashpoint during Friday's 2-1 defeat by Mexico in Orlando occured when Charlton was trying to introduce John Aldridge, the Tranmere Rovers striker who scored Ireland's late goal, into the fray as a substitute.

Tommy Coyne had already left the pitch, but a Fifa official prevented Aldridge taking his place immediately, much to the obvious annoyance of Aldridge and Charlton, who became involved in a heated discussion on the touchline.

Fifa also inflicted fines of pounds 10,000 on Charlton, the same amount on the Football Association of Ireland - for 'ill-mannered behaviour' - and pounds 1,500 on Aldridge (for swearing at Fifa officials).

In the days prior to the game, Charlton had been involved in a dispute with Fifa about whether or not his players would be allowed to take water during matches. 'Really, I am paying the penalty for having a go about the water situation,' the manager said.

Tognoni added: 'Charlton threatened and insulted the referee and the fourth official sitting on the touchline. Aldridge and the other people on the Irish bench were fined for the same reason. Fifa cannot tolerate officials being insulted, but there is no reason to make war between Fifa and the FAI.'

'This is not a retaliation, it has nothing to do with Jack Charlton's complaints to us about players drinking during matches. We like him as a coach and this was one incident that we hope will not be repeated.'

Ireland have already been in trouble with Fifa for ignoring their instructions on which coloured shirts to wear. They held up the start of their opening match against Italy last weekend because they were wearing their traditional green shirts instead of their reserve white strip. They were ordered to return to the dressing room to change, and were warned by the organising committee that severe action would follow if they transgressed again.

Against Norway, Ireland will be without their full-backs, Denis Irwin and Terry Phelan, who were given one-game bans yesterday after collecting their second caution of the tournament against Mexico. Gianluca Pagliuca, the Italian goalkeeper who was sent off against Norway on Thursday, received a two-match ban yesterday.

(Photograph omitted)

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