The young girl who ran onto the pitch to get Cristiano Ronaldo‘s Portugal shirt after his match with the Republic of Ireland on Thursday will not be fined, the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) have confirmed.
Ronaldo made 11-year-old Addison Whelan’s night by giving her his shirt and a hug after she ran onto the pitch to meet the striker after the 0-0 draw in Dublin.
After the match she claimed she would be fined for her actions, thought to be around £2,500 for entering the playing surfaces.
The adoring fan was so overcome with emotion she ignored the security guards and wrapped her arms around the Manchester United star for a second time after he gave her the jersey.
Miss Whelan had revealed that she was handed a hefty fine for entering the pitch, before stating her father would cover the costs.
However the FAI released a statement claiming that Miss Whelan would face no such financial penalty.
The young Ireland fan who ran onto the pitch to get Cristiano Ronaldo’s shirt has been fined over £2,500 for entering the field of play
Addison Whelan, 11, got a shirt and a hug during Ireland’s 0-0 draw with Portugal in Dublin
FAI Media and Football Relations Director Cathal Dervan said: ‘We want to reassure Addison that of course she will not face any fine for running onto the pitch and asking for Ronaldo’s jersey.’
Speaking to Irish radio station FM104 earlier in the day, the 11-year-old said: ‘I was fined for running onto the pitch. My dad’s going to pay it.
She also told RTE Radio 1’s Morning Ireland show: ‘I jumped over the barrier because I was in the second row. I jumped over the first row and over the barrier.
‘Then I sprinted onto the pitch, but there was security guards running behind me and there was another two coming from the other corner so I just kept sprinting.
‘Then I was just screaming Ronaldo’s name. He turned around and he saw me and he was telling them to leave me.
Miss Whelan (front) has confirmed that her father will pay the fine for entering the pitch
‘So then I was calling him over. He came over to me. I was just in shock and crying and I was like “can I have your jersey? Please, please. I’m a big, huge fan.”‘
Ronaldo, 36, who was accosted by another fanatical supporter during the match itself, took it all in his stride, patting the girl on the head and saying something to try and calm her down.
Miss Whelan was escorted back to the stands where she stood proudly holding the shirt for the cameras. It came after a frustrating night for the talisman after Portugal were held to a 0-0 draw by a dogged Irish defence at the Aviva Stadium.
Late in the second half he found rare space from defenders – and fans – to make headed contact with an Andre Silva’s cross, only to glance his effort narrowly wide across goal.
The United star then had another chance with the final attack of the match in stoppage time, looking to score from an acute angle instead of passing the ball back for team-mate Joao Felix…