Kyle Lafferty: The striker has withdrawn from the NI squad following an investigation into alleged sectarian remarks

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

Kyle Lafferty has been dropped from Northern Ireland’s Nations League squad following an investigation into alleged sectarianism by his club.

On Thursday, Kilmarnock said they were aware of “footage showing a member of our players using language of a sectarian nature”.

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

He said a “little back problem” has also prevented Lafferty from training this week.

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

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

Asked about the 35-year-old’s back problem, the Northern Ireland manager replied: “Yeah he hasn’t trained in the last few days and given the situation, it was in everyone’s best interest.”

The Northern Ireland manager indicated that the door remains open for Lafferty to continue adding to his 89 international caps.

“He’s been there for me since day one and I know he’s come back after being out of the first team and that’s his character and for me it’s no different.”

On Thursday, the Scottish Premiership club said it saw “absolutely any form of discrimination as 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 returned to the Scottish club in January.

Lafferty has won 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 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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