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European qualifiers: Northern Ireland fans can attend clash in Romania

UEFA has cleared Northern Ireland fans to travel to Romania for their European qualifier on November 14, the Irish Football Association has confirmed.

Romania were threatened by the prospect of playing behind closed doors after their 1-1 draw against Hungary was marred by crowd trouble before and during the game.

UEFA's control, ethics and disciplinary body has been investigating the unsavoury scenes in Bucharest on October 11 and delayed announcing a verdict on the punishment for both teams at least twice.

But they have decided against imposing a full stadium ban in Bucharest and, although some sections of the Arena Nationala will be closed, UEFA has given the all-clear for Northern Ireland fans to attend the fixture in a fortnight.

An IFA statement read: "The UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body has today met with regards the Romania v Hungary disciplinary case.

"The body has reached a decision on the case and UEFA has informed the Irish FA that there will be no impact on Northern Ireland fans attending the European Qualifier against Romania in Bucharest on 14 November.

"Tickets for the game will go on sale online at 9am on Monday 3 November, subject to the confirmation of the ticket allocation from the Romania Football Federation."

UEFA later confirmed the Romanian Football Federation has been hit with the partial stadium closure and a 32,000-euro fine for various crowd disturbances, including throwing fireworks and missiles, using laser pointers and displaying illicit banners.

The Hungarian federation, whose fans were found guilty of racist behaviour, throwing fireworks and missiles and destroying seats to throw on the pitch, must also partially close their stadium for their next qualifier against Finland.

They have been told to close a minimum of 2,500 seats and have also been issued a fine of 30,000 euros, while they have been given 30 days to arrange a settlement for damages incurred by their supporters in Bucharest.

In relation to the racial element of the punishment, a UEFA statement read: "The fight against racism is a high priority for UEFA. The European governing body has a zero-tolerance policy towards racism and discrimination on the field and in the stands.

"All forms of racist behaviour are considered serious offences against the disciplinary regulations and are punished with the most severe sanctions.

"Following the entry into force of new disciplinary regulations in June 2013, the fight against racist conduct has been stepped up a level - resulting in stricter penalties to deter any such behaviour."

Michael O'Neill's side currently top Group F after winning their opening three qualifiers for the first time in their history, while Romania are two points behind after two wins and a draw.


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