The FAI plan to "consult" with League of Ireland club Wexford FC after they unveiled a new shirt which features MEP Mick Wallace and his political grouping in the European Parliament as the main sponsor in what may be a breach of FAI rules on jersey sponsorship.
Wallace is a long-time backer of the club and his involvement will step up a level as the shirt sponsor for the remainder of the 2020 season, that shirt unveiled by the club on their Twitter account and club website on Monday night. "Big thanks to @bodibro for the design, featuring @wallacemick & GUE/NGL as sponsors The jersey features @JimFitzpatrick's iconic image of Che Guevara," the club said in a tweet.
GUE/NGL is the grouping to which Wallace is aligned in the European Parliament. However some Wexford FC fans have asked whether having an individual politician and a political grouping as a shirt sponsor is a breach of FAI rules.
"All shirts are required to seek approval from the SSE Airtricity League office as per competition rules and the laws of the game. The league will consult with the club over the shirt in the coming days," an FAI spokesperson said yesterday when asked if the Wexford shirt needed approval.
The participation agreement, which clubs must sign up to before joining the SSE Airtricity League, has no specific mention of politicians having their names on club shirts but the FIFA rulebook, the Laws of The Game, prohibit having politicians' names on playing kit.
"The basic compulsory equipment must not have any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images. The team of a player whose basic compulsory equipment has political, religious or personal slogans or, statements or images will be sanctioned by the competition organiser or by FIFA, the rule book states.
"Whilst 'religious' and 'personal' are relatively easily defined, 'political' is less clear but slogans, statements or images related to the following are not permitted: any person(s), living or dead (unless part of the official competition name); any local, regional, national or international political party/organisation/group, etc."
Meanwhile, ahead of a key meeting between the FAI and League of Ireland clubs tomorrow, Finn Harps have said they will try to raise the finance needed for a resumption of the league without gate receipts even though behind-closed-doors football poses financial and logistical problems
But figures from Premier Division rivals Cork City and Waterford have expressed their concerns about a return to the field of play in 2020 in a behind-closed-doors scenario, Cork vowing "not to set foot on the field of play" until concerns are addressed.
The FAI are due to present to clubs tomorrow details of their financial package which could see the SSE Airtricity League return in some form in 2020.