Football / World Cup USA '94: Charlton's ban fires up Ireland: Norway face backlash

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AS the governors of world football were calling Jack Charlton names yesterday - in the opinion of Fifa he is 'a crazy man' - they explained the 'intolerable' behaviour which has seen the Republic of Ireland manager banished from the touchline for tomorrow's game against Norway.

Fifa has also imposed heavy fines following the touchline dispute during Friday's 2-1 defeat by Mexico. When John Aldridge attempted to come on as a substitute he was blocked by the Fifa observer, Mustafa Fahmy, and an angry exchanged ensued, which also involved Charlton. The manager has been fined pounds 10,000, Aldridge pounds 1,250 and the Irish delegation pounds 10,000 for their 'ill-mannered behaviour'.

The biggest blow to the team, who will progress to the second round should they avoid defeat tomorrow in New Jersey, is that Charlton, their mentor as much as manager, will not be available for tactical guidance during the game. That responsibility passes to his assistant, Maurice Setters, while Charlton sits in the stand.

It is an unsatisfactory state of affairs, but Aldridge, who was heard on television swearing at Fahmy, said it had only made the team more determined. 'Fifa don't seem to like the Irish and ever since Jack complained of the provision of water for players they have been waiting to get their own back,' the striker said. .

'They are trying to get us out of the competition but they could not have done more to gee us up. They will not drive us out. I admit I bad- mouthed the Fifa official and I regret it, but at the time I felt I was fully justified.'

Fifa announced its decision after a disciplinary committee meeting in Dallas. Charlton is allowed to enter the dressing- room but not the area of the pitch. There is no appeal.

The Fifa spokesman, Guido Tognoni, said the punishments were for the 'overall behaviour' of the Irish during the Mexico game. 'Jack Charlton was insulting to Mr Fahmy, the fourth official (the substitute referee) and continually made insulting comments to the referee and linesman. It was not the behaviour of a British gentleman and we can not tolerate it.

'We cannot punish players who show dissent to officials and let him (Charlton) get away with it. There is a standard of decorum we must expect from managers. Jack is a crazy man, we like him and we need characters in the game but he must learn where to draw the line.'

The dispute occurred when Charlton wanted to substitute Alan Kernaghan for Paul McGrath. Before the switch could be made, Mexico scored again and Charlton decided it was another striker he needed and not a fresh defender. Aldridge tried to get on but the Fifa official, who had not been notified of the change of substitute, stopped him and manhandled him. It took three minutes to sort out the confusion during which time Ireland were forced to play with 10 men.

Charlton was mystified by the ban saying at no stage has a referee or linesman had cause to speak to him. 'It seems I have been punished for doing my job,' he said. 'Nothing has been said officially to me that I have done anything wrong.'

In a statement, Fifa said it was 'totally satisfied' that the manager and his technical staff complied with procedures. It added that the fourth official had accepted the substitution was 'proper and in order'.

Fifa deny any suggestion of a vendetta. 'Charlton has been critical of us but that is his opinion,' Tognoni said. 'We are tolerant and try to help the team as much as possible. It is disappointing that in February Charlton missed a seminar for managers. He was reported to be sick. Four years ago before Italia '90 he missed the same kind of seminar. We feel it is important for managers to be there and understand our guidelines.'

With the full-backs, Denis Irwin and Terry Phelan, suspended Charlton has to make changes for Norway and there will be others as he attempts to inject new vigour. Gary Kelly, Jason McAteer and Ronnie Whelan are all in the frame for a first appearance.