UEFA’s decision to fine the FAI after the Irish women’s football team sang ‘Up the Ra’ is “totally one sided and unfair”, Brian Warfield of the Wolfe Tones has said.
The tune is one of the band’s most famous rebel songs and was sung with gusto by the team to celebrate winning a World Cup qualifier in October.
After footage of the celebrations leaked on social media, the team were quickly condemned for not being sensitive to victims of IRA violence.
Former First Minister Arlene Foster said she was “outraged” and team manager Vera Pauw issued a swift apology.
“I have spoken with players this morning and we are sorry collectively for any hurt caused, there can be no excuse for that," she said.
The UEFA Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector today fined the FAI €20,000 on the grounds the players had violated “the basic rules of decent conduct”.
It is a decision that Mr Warfield believes is hugely disappointing given the integral part rebel tunes play in Irish culture.
“Things like this should be defended because really they’re trying to frighten people from singing Irish songs,” he told The Hard Shoulder.
“When you have Jeffrey Donaldson and Arlene Foster who are both trying to divide Ireland and they get accolades from England like ‘Sir Jeffrey’ and ‘Dame Arlene’.
“So, you have all these things going on at the same time and unionist politicians are very, very vocal in protesting against anything that is republican.
“I think it’s totally one sided and unfair.”
The FAI said in a statement that it “notes and accepts” the fine.