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Dublin: 23 °C Friday 25 July, 2014

Duff to retain 100 caps despite Hungary error, say FAI

It was thought that the former Ireland winger had been robbed of one of his international caps due to an administrative mistake.

Duff against Hungary.
Duff against Hungary.
Image: INPHO/Donall Farmer

DAMIEN DUFF HAS not been stripped of his century of caps.

The 33-year-old winger announced his international retirement last month after earning his 100th cap against Italy at Euro 2012.

However, reports in the Irish Daily Star this morning revealed that the friendly against Hungary back in June would not be recognised as an official senior international match by FIFA due to an administrative error, meaning the Dubliner would only have 99 caps.

Ireland travelled to Budapest for their final warm-up game ahead of the European championships – drawing 0-0 in a dull affair which Duff was named in the starting XI to earn his 97th cap. And the Hungarian FA’s decision to appoint Danish referee Kenn Hansen, who was not on the FIFA list of referees, for the game caused the mishap.

However, the FAI have told TheScore that they have been in contact with FIFA and the Hungarian FA about the matter and, despite the game not being recognised, Damien Duff will retain his 100 caps.

“As an away match, the Hungarian FA was responsible for all aspects of the fixture,” the statement read. ”The Hungarian FA said this morning that they were unaware of the matter but have been in contact with FIFA.

“They said that they intend to continue their discussions with FIFA in order to have the fixture recognised for international ranking purposes. They have also confirmed that it is their intention to record the fixture as an international match for the purposes of caps.

“Separately, FIFA confirmed to the FAI this morning that one of the assistant referees who officiated at the match, Mr David Vang Andersen was not on the current FIFA list of referees and this is the reason why they are not recognising the match for their international ranking coefficient.

“FIFA and UEFA also confirmed this morning that the decision to award a cap is at the discretion of the National Association and that they do not keep a central record of caps.

The Football Association of Ireland has decided that the players who participated in the fixture deserve caps, particularly Damien Duff for the service that he gave to his country. Consequently, the Association has informed Damien that it will recognise his status as having earned 100 caps for Ireland.”

Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni remains hopeful that Duff might return to the international set-up for the current World Cup qualifying campaign starting with the fixture against Germany in Dublin next month.

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