Rangers fail to persuade Northern Ireland to release Kyle Lafferty

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Rangers have failed to persuade Northern Ireland chiefs to release Kyle Lafferty for action against Hamilton on Sunday.

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Kyle Lafferty will miss this weekend's clash with Hamilton. Picture: SNS

Kyle Lafferty will miss this weekend's clash with Hamilton. Picture: SNS

The Light Blues held talks with the Irish Football Association (IFA) after it invoked FIFA’s five-day rule in the aftermath of the striker’s last-minute withdrawal from Michael O’Neill’s squad ahead of last week’s crunch Nations League double-header against Austria and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Gers had hoped to talk round their IFA counterparts to enable Lafferty to face Accies at the Hope Stadium.

But they did not succeed and manager Steven Gerrard will now have to send out his side without the frontman.

However, Rangers say the IFA’s move will not stop the former Burnley, Norwich and Hearts striker playing a part for O’Neill in future.

The Ibrox club said in a statement: “Rangers can confirm Kyle Lafferty will not be available for the match against Hamilton on Sunday after the Irish FA invoked FIFA’s five-day rule.

“Talks have now been held among all parties and Rangers understands the position of the Irish FA.

“Kyle did not comply fully with international protocol but remains available for international selection.”

Lafferty called O’Neill at midnight the night before he was due to meet up with the national team to say he would not be travelling.

While Lafferty blamed the move on a long-standing Achilles complaint, O’Neill was left furious.

IFA bosses responded by triggering the seldom-used regulation which allows national associations to bar a player - turning down a call-up - from representing their club during an international window as well as a subsequent five-day period.

In a statement explaining their decision, Northern Ireland chiefs said: “The Irish FA has written to Rangers FC regarding Kyle Lafferty who was selected in the Northern Ireland squad for the UEFA Nations League matches against Austria and Bosnia and Herzegovina on 12 and 15 October 2018 respectively.

“As the player did not comply with the association’s call up, the player is in breach and as a result, the association is invoking the FIFA regulation (FIFA regulations for the status and transfer of players, annexe 1, section 5).

“This states that ‘the player is not entitled to play for the club with which he is registered during the period for which he has been released or should have been released pursuant to the provisions of this annexe.

“This restriction on playing for the club shall, moreover, be prolonged by five days in the event that the player, for whatsoever reason, did not wish to or was unable to comply with the call-up’.”