Kyle Lafferty has been withdrawn from the Northern Ireland squad for this week’s Nations League games after video surfaced on social media of the striker appearing to make an allegedly sectarian remark.
As the Belfast Telegraph revealed last night, the Irish FA axed the 35-year-old on Friday morning ahead of Saturday’s stark clash with Kosovo at Windsor Park.
In a statement, the Football Association of Ireland said: “Northern Ireland senior player Kyle Lafferty has been withdrawn from the squad ahead of the forthcoming UEFA Nations League games against Kosovo and Greece.
“The Football Association of Ireland is aware of a widely shared social media video. The association also notes that the striker’s club, Kilmarnock FC, have launched an investigation into the video.
“A minor back problem has prevented Lafferty from participating in training since Tuesday.”
Footage posted online, which has been widely circulated, shows a man walking up to Lafferty at a bar, apparently asking for a photo, which the former Rangers man happily poses for.
As the “fan” moves away, he appears to be saying “Up the Celts” directly to Lafferty, who first turns his head before responding with what is supposedly a sectarian and derogatory comment.
A Football Association of Ireland source told the Belfast Telegraph: “It’s a complete setup but you can’t respond with that kind of language. It’s horrific.”
Lafferty is understood to have met with manager Baraclough on Thursday night to discuss his actions in the video.
Lafferty is Northern Ireland’s second-highest male goalscorer, having scored 20 goals in 85 games, although he last scored for his country in 2016.
In May he signed a new one-year deal with Kilmarnock.
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sport/football/international/kyle-lafferty-irish-fa-axe-shamed-northern-ireland-striker-following-viral-video-42011136.html Kyle Lafferty: Irish FA axe shamed Northern Ireland striker following viral video