FAI chiefs, including chief John Delaney, deliberately boycotted Scottish Football Association hospitality on Friday as a gesture of their displeasure over the ticketing arrangements for the Euro 2016 qualifier.
Delaney had branded Scotland’s governing body “unprofessional” for granting the FAI only the minimum 5% (3,200) tickets for the 62,000-capacity fixture.
He had predicted the practice of selling tickets directly to Irish fans in sections reserved for Scottish supporters through their website would create “tension in the air”.
And despite their diplomatic relationship completely breaking down in the build-up to the game, there was no truce of the warring Celtic cousins for the match itself, with the FAI delegate refusing to attend the traditional pre-match dinner hosted by SFA President Campbell Ogilvie.
The delegation, that included Delaney and recently-elected President Tony Fitzgerald, were also conspicuously absent from the pre-match formalities at Celtic Park. Last night, the FAI refused to comment on the snub but it’s understood a decision to adopt this course of action was made beforehand.
Such functions form part of the protocol surrounding international games. Amongst the regular attendees are officials from each association, the nominated UEFA match delegate and representatives of the appointed referees. It remains to be seen whether the FAI decide to follow up their action with more when the Scottish FA visit Dublin for the return qualifier next June.
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