Robbie Brady has been cleared to play in the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup play-off after FIFA decided to take no action over an alleged clash with Wales defender Ashley Williams.
The governing body launched an investigation after television pictures appeared to show Brady’s head colliding with Williams’ back during Monday night’s qualifier victory in Cardiff.
However, officials found no evidence on which to take action against the Burnley man, a conclusion the Ireland camp had been privately confident would be the case.
A FIFA spokesman told Press Association Sport: “No action will be taken for such alleged incident.”
Despite their confidence, Ireland will be delighted to have a man who has already missed two qualifiers through suspension during the current campaign available as they attempt to book themselves a trip to Russia next summer.
The Republic, like Northern Ireland, are unseeded for next Tuesday’s draw in Zurich, which will see them paired with either Switzerland, Italy, Croatia or Denmark in a two-legged showdown in November.
— Joe Redmond (@JoeTomRed) October 10, 2017
Ireland have previously been involved in eight play-offs and won only three, although two of their victories – over Estonia and Bosnia & Herzegovina – came in their most recent.
They booked their play-off place with a famous 1-0 Group D win over Wales, who had not lost a competitive match on their own pitch for four years, courtesy of James McClean’s lone strike to finish second behind Serbia.