Lafferty out of NI squad amid video remark probe

Kyle Lafferty has made 89 Northern Ireland appearances since making his debut in 2006

Kyle Lafferty has been withdrawn from Northern Ireland’s Nations League squad amid an investigation by his club into an alleged sectarian remark.

On Thursday, Kilmarnock said they were aware of footage “which appears to show a member of our playing staff using language of a sectarian nature”.

The Irish FA said on Friday that it “notes an investigation has been launched into the video” by the club.

It said a “minor back problem” had also prevented Lafferty training this week.

Speaking later, Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough said that he had seen the video but refused to comment on its contents.

“There’s an investigation going on with Kyle’s club and it would be wrong of me to comment,” added Baraclough, who added that the player had left the squad on Friday morning.

Asked about the 35-year-old’s back issue, the Northern Ireland manager replied: “Yes he hasn’t trained for the last few days and in the light of the situation, it was in the best interests of everybody.”

The Northern Ireland manager indicated the door does remain open to Lafferty continuing to add to his 89 international caps.

“It has been from me from day one and I know he has come back from being left out of the squad before and that’s his character and for me it’s no different there.”

On Thursday, the Scottish Premiership club said it found “all forms of discriminatory behaviour completely unacceptable”.

The Fermanagh man joined Kilmarnock in February 2021 and scored 13 goals in as many appearances before signing for Cypriot side Anorthosis Famagusta but then returned to the Scottish club in January.

Lafferty has earned 89 Northern Ireland caps since making his debut in 2006 and has scored 20 goals for his country.

Northern Ireland will aim for their first ever win in the Nations League when they host Kosovo in Belfast on Saturday evening and then face Greece in Athens on Tuesday.

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