Linfield and Cliftonville set to appeal after being hit with hefty fines

Linfield defeated Cliftonville in the Shield semi-final back in October
Linfield defeated Cliftonville in the Shield semi-final back in October

Linfield and Cliftonville will both appeal the £3,000 fines imposed on the two clubs by the Irish Football Association.

The financial penalties follow last October’s County Antrim Shield semi-final between the sides, where a number of fans from both clubs were accused of sectarian chanting during the tie at Windsor Park.

Cliftonville have also been hit with an additional £250 fine for ‘causing an explosion’.

Reds chairman Gerard Lawlor has hit out at the punishment, while in a statement the club questioned the IFA’s decision to go public with the punishments.

“Cliftonville Football Club take their responsibilities very seriously and where fault lies with the club we will respect any decisions, and we will and have taken appropriate action to deal with issues that have arisen,” Lawlor said.

“However, when the club believes they have been unjustly accused of any matter, and indeed feel that the club are being used as a vehicle ‘to make an example’, then we will vigorously defend the position of our club.”

The club added: “Cliftonville are very disappointed with the conduct of the Irish Football Association in respect of their statement issued concerning this, considering many other similar cases and other matters, that they have chosen not to publicise in recent seasons.”

October’s Shield semi-final had to be stopped when referee Hugh Carvill asked for a public announcement to be made calling on fans to desist from any contentious chanting.

Confirming the fines, the Irish FA said it was committed to eradicating all forms of discrimination.

The Association also reiterated its determination to foster a “family-friendly atmosphere” at football matches.

“In handing down unprecedented sanctions in this instance, the IFA repeats its determination to promote, foster and develop football for all in Northern Ireland and in doing so create a family friendly atmosphere throughout all levels of the game, free from racism, sectarianism, sexism or hooliganism,” the statement added.