Martin O’Neill will not face any disciplinary action from Uefa for confronting Zbynek Proske at the end of Ireland’s controversial exit from the U17 European Championship but the Czech referee has been dropped for the semi-finals.
O’Neill was at the forefront of Irish protests in Monday’s quarter-final following the referee’s decision to issue a second yellow card to goalkeeper Jimmy Corcoran for encroaching while saving the last Netherlands penalty. The subsequent successful retake, with centre-back Oisin McEntee in goal, denied Ireland taking the shootout to sudden death.
Enraged by the treatment of the 16-year-old stopper, the Ireland boss came down from his seat in the Proact Stadium at Chesterfield to firstly console the youngster before heading onto the pitch and having strong words with the whistler.
It had been feared that O’Neill, who only last July incurred a reprimand from Fifa for criticising a referee, would be sanctioned but last night Uefa insisted no proceedings had been opened arising from the fixture.
They confirmed Corcoran will receive a one-match suspension, thereby ruling him out of the first match of the 2019 U17 finals. Ireland qualify automatically as host nation.
Uefa declined to comment on Proske’s performance, other than to confirm the routine evaluation from the referee observer on duty had taken place, which is then brought into consideration for future appointments.
The Czech official seems to have suffered for his inconsistency in not penalising Joey Koorevaar. If Corcoran broke a rule in advancing off his line, as he admitted himself 24 hours later, then the same infringement wasn’t acted upon when the Dutch stopper kept out Adam Idah’s first attempt for Ireland.
Proske is not amongst the eight officials appointed for today’s semi-final ties despite some others in the quarters, including Irishman Rob Harvey, getting called again into duty. Italy meet Belgium (1pm) and England host the Netherlands (7pm) to decide Sunday’s finalists.
Meanwhile, Ciarán Clark has withdrawn from the Ireland squad for the upcoming friendlies. The Newcastle United defender had been named last week by O’Neill in the 40-man provisional panel for the games, which include the Scott Brown testimonial against Celtic this Sunday, followed by the visit to France on Monday week and the concluding game against USA on June 2.
His club, however, confirmed Clark had been nursing a knee injury towards the end of their season and will use the downtime to get ready for the club pre-season starting in July.
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