The F.A.I. are to carry out an investigation into claims by former international striker Tony Cascarino that he might not have been properly qualified to play for the Republic. Cascarino won a record 88 Irish caps, his last in the nil-all draw with Turkey in the European Championship play-off in Bursa in November 1999.

The former Chelsea, Aston villa, Celtic Marseille and Nancy striker won his caps for the Republic on the strength of a maternal grandfather from Westport Michael O'Malley.

However, in his new autobiography he now admits that O'Malley was not his mother's natural father, rendering him ineligible under international rules.

Cascarino's mother had been aware of the fact throughout his career, but only told him after he had retired from international football.

"I didn't qualify for Ireland," writes Cascarino. "I was a fraud. A fake Irishman." Cascarino also reveals that he was turned down for an Irish passport in 1985, but carried on playing for the National side regardless.

"It seemed odd but I didn't follow it up," said Cascarino. "I didn't need to. I had already won three international caps and for the next 12 years I continued playing for Ireland."

He made his debut in the 0-0 draw with Switzerland in a World Cup qualifier in Berne on September 11 1985.

Cascarino might now be asked to meet FAI officials in Dublin at an early date to clarify matters, but it's unlikely he'd be stripped of his record 88 caps.

Filed by Seán Folan