Football eligibility row illustrates unionism’s inability to respect ‘The Other’ tradition

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One issue which illustrates perfectly the inability or unwillingness of unionist politicians to understand their Irish nationalist neighbours is that of the ongoing whingefest surrounding the ability of Irish citizens born in the Six Counties to represent the Republic of Ireland international soccer team.

Having stoked the flames of this fire for several years now, the DUP have decided that now is the time to call for inter-governmental talks between the British and Irish governments with the sole objective of denying northerners the right to represent the Republic of Ireland.

Why they expect governments to take time out from other pressing engagements to entertain such a notion is perplexing in its own right. But exactly why they’d expect their nationalist partners in the Executive- or indeed Irish government in Dublin- to engage in such talks is beyond comprehension.

Already Sinn Fein have replied in kind, calling for an all-Ireland team to replace the two international sides.

The latest bout of whining has been sparked by the on-field success of Derry-born James McClean, who is expected to be called into Giovanni Trapattoni’s squad on Friday and thereby make his first appearance in the Republic’s squad (the same individual has been the target of some fairly extreme politically motivated and personal abuse via his Twitter account in recent days from Northern Ireland ‘fans.’)

Having spent generations decrying the fact that nationalist Ireland refused to accept and respect their British identity, what is it that makes unionists so incapable of accepting and respecting the all-Ireland identity of their nationalist neighbours?

  • Stephen Blacker

    Anyone should be allowed to play for the country of their choice, that would be part of the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement. I also believe that if a person is developed into a soccer player in Northern Ireland and then they go to the Republic of Ireland there should be some form of compensation paid to Northern Ireland’s junior soccer training body and vice versa.

  • Keithbelfast

    What the DUP seem to miss is that this isn’t unique to (pardon the turn of phrase) our wee country. It’s not just Northern Ireland where players have turned out for one country’s youth set up, only to opt for another country when they make the professional leap.

    Arsenal’s Frimpong is a great example. Played for England during youth (close to home for training), then opted for Ghana when the time came.

    Northern Ireland’s very own Lee Camp ‘defected’ from England to NI – and more the better we are for having him.

    And just as a point of balance, the language and wording used by both ROI and NI fans on twitter regarding McClean’s personal nationality choice was equally disgusting.

    This is just kids working the current system, but it’s a worldwide system – not something we can sort out in an afternoon at the conference suite in the Ramada…

  • http://fitzjameshorselooksattheworld.wordpress.com/ fitzjameshorse1745

    While agreeing absolutely with everything said by Chris Donnelly, I dont think it is worth another thread. We have rehearsed this argument so often that I doubt a single person will be persuaded.
    The one issue which I might disagree with is that Mr Donnelly suggests that it is unionists who are whinging……..and yes I do take his point about DUP calls for talks on the subject……but most unionists of my acquaintance seem perfectly at ease with it all. And even if they are not, theres precious little they can do about it.

    But a Norn Iron team……..our wee country has suddenly become the touchstone of letsgetalongerism…….or rather faux lets getalongerism.
    To elect to be Irish is somehow unacceptable but electing to be British is somehow “normal”.

    Apart from the diluted nature of Stormont, Norn Iron only really exists in two areas……a football team and that 4 yearly Commonwealth thing.
    We cant really count the Ulster rugby team as its nine county and not that some appear more at home in the Transvaal or the Scottish Borders or wherever.

    The football team is therefore the last stand and the chipping away at it is obviously a good thing for nationalism.
    None of us should have any problem what other people do.
    Any word on Ruairidhi Donnelly?

  • lover not a fighter

    An example of this is Colin Murray calling James McClean an Northen Irishman when James considers himself an Irishman.

    As I understand it individuals are allowed (after the Good friday agreement) to choose how they regard themselves.

    Colin Murray was I sugest being a little bit too smart for his own good and would be better to concentrate on being a good presenter.

  • stewart1

    Also worth noting that NI’s German born goalkeeper Maik Taylor did not even qualify for Northern Ireland via the grandparent rule, he qualified via his british passport. This off course was a loophole (now closed) that was open only to the four british associations.

    I don’t recall anyone within the IFA protesting at this anomaly at the time. And let’s remember his new successor to the goalkeeping crown Lee Camp played at every youth level for England and only became eligible for Northern Ireland when FIFA relaxed the eligibility rules a few years back.

    So let’s be honest, the IFA are well versed in using the current/past rules to their own advantage.

  • galloglaigh

    A comment I found on facebook earlier:

    “playing for northern ireland as an Irish nationalist is a sure fire way to get yourself a bullet in the post”

    True?

  • Keithbelfast

    “A comment I found on facebook earlier:

    “playing for northern ireland as an Irish nationalist is a sure fire way to get yourself a bullet in the post”

    True?”

    No, unless you ordered it from some sort of antique gun website.

    Also, can I suggest Colin Murray’s comment were innocent?

  • Red Lion

    The real issue which most Northern Ireland fans are annoyed with is that a nationalist NI player is happy to play for all Northern Ireland Under age teams right up to U-21 and even for the senior side in friendly games, only to turn turk at the last minute and head south, when all the time their precious shirt and space in development squads such as the milk cup NI team could have gone to a youngster who is desperate to play for Northern Ireland at all levels.

    This is inequitable unjust and breeds tension.

    Most Northern Ireland fans agree that if someone doesnt want to play for the country, then don’t.

    Northern Ireland is virtually the only football association in the world whose all underage players can be selected by another association – unfair and unjust.

    I suggest a compromise- underage NI players are eligible to go south up to age 18, but after that, if they play a competitive U21 game for Northern Ireland, then they are tied to Northern Ireland. This reduces abuse of the Northern Ireland football setup, and gives a fair chance to those underage players who want to play for Northern Ireland, to do so and to develop their career.

    Not that the ROI association give a dam, though I note many opinions in the south would have sympathy with I say.

  • Republic of Connaught

    I think the vast majority of intelligent NI fans accept at this stage that these players are entitled to play for an Ireland 11 or the Ulster 11 and if they choose the Ireland 11 it should be respected. Nigel Dodds is always angry about something so it’s par for the course from him.

    I’m sure there will be many disappointed Irish fans if Rory McIroy or Grame McDowell opt for GB over Ireland in the Olympics when the time comes but we’ll also have to respect their choice. Conflicting loyalties exist in the north of Ireland so you have to just accept these situations.

  • galloglaigh

    Why would Rory McIroy or Graeme McDowell be playing Olympic golf? Isn’t the Olympics and amateur tournament?

  • andnowwhat

    Apparently this young gentleman is not too keen on James Mc Clean and Duffy

    https://twitter.com/?iid=am-74725293413287089614346767&nid=4+sender&uid=102418398&utm_content=profile#!/TruueBluue1905

    Lovely

  • Republic of Connaught

    Galloglaigh,

    For the games in Rio in 2016 they will be able to play.

  • http://www.banuanlae.org/ Ulick

    @Red Lion
    Would it be possible that some of my taxes make their way towards funding the IFA? If so I’d like to opine that I and probably half the population of the north have no problem with players training up here and then opting to play for Ireland.

  • galloglaigh

    RoC

    Very good. Didn’t know that!

    Ulick

    Very good point!

  • andnowwhat

    Yep Ullick, it does come from our taxes.

    Short_strand’s tweet to Nigel Dodds was a hoot

  • Red Lion

    Ulick, a very small fraction of taxes paid in NI might make their way to the IFA (ditto GAA, rugby etc) but seeing that Westminster bankrolls this place, it really only is a tiny fraction. Out of the money raised in NI that goes to the IFA, the massive bulk of that comes from the fans in ticket sales, merchandise etc and some sponsors who have a vested interest in seeing Northern Ireland doing as well as possible. So Id say Northern Ireland fans(whether Catholic or Protestant or other) have fair claim to have a more significant voice.

    Ulick (and others) – what do you think about my point in previous post about how a young NI player loses the chance to play for Northern Ireland development squads because a nationalist youngster is chosen ahead of him, only to go to the Republic of Ireland at the earliest (or latest )opportunity ?? Do you think this is fair or equitable??

  • George

    “It’s absolutely none of his business. He should keep his nose out of it and concentrate on affairs within his own jurisdiction. And he should know better than to try and involve politics with sport.”

    That was the position of the DUP and its then leader Iain Paisley in 2006 when then Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern got involved in the issue of players from Northern Ireland being forced by FIFA to carry British passports rather than being able to use Irish passports.

    Why the change? Why is it now alright to involve politics with sport?

  • http://fitzjameshorselooksattheworld.wordpress.com/ fitzjameshorse1745

    Red Lion,
    Speaking for myself I dont care.
    Its exactly the same situation in England. Players opt for Ireland after being selected for underage teams.
    People make choices.
    As I understand it there are twins in the Manchester United reserve team wh have opted for different countries.
    There have been English born players who have opted for Ireland or indeed Norn Iron because they couldnt make the England team.
    In a few years time there will be Norn Iron born player who wont be able to make the Ireland team and will happily settle for our wee country.
    Problem solved.

  • George

    Ian even.

  • HeinzGuderian

    If it was good enough for Martin O’Neill,I suggest it is good enough for anyone. ;-)

  • http://openunionism.wordpress.com/ st etienne

    Is slugger merely a vehicle for SF press releases on this subject?

    ‘independent’ media.

  • Red Lion

    FjH

    Im not sure you have a good understanding of the eliginility ruling – it most certainly isnt the same situation in England, or virtually anywhere else in the world for that matter!

    Some english u21 players may opt for another country due to the parents or grandparents rule (as in any country) – if they have a parent or g’parent born in that country then they can chose to play for the country of their parents or grandparents birth. There are also some other more nuanced residency/nationality rules. All these rules apply across the board to all countries – thats ok.

    Where Northern Ireland is now at a disadvantage in world football to virtually every other country in the world is that everybody born in NI can now play for the ROI even if they dont have family ties to the ROI.

    In effect, the ROI now have two u21 sides, 2 u-18 sides etc, their own ROI underages teams, and now the Northern Ireland underage teams as well, for they have the right now to select if they wish all NI underage players to play for them.(in reality means picking out which NI players are Catholic so rule has a sectarian slant to it). Virtually unique in world football. And incredibily disadvantageous to NI football, and in particular incredibly unjust to young NI footballers who want to play for Northern Ireland at all levels.

    Not like England, or anywhere else at all

  • ayeYerMa

    The endless moaning from nationalists illustrate nationalism’s inability to respect democratically agreed borders.

    Pretending that any 26 county Irish Republic team is the Irish team is also delusion at its nuttiest. It will never represent all Irish people, no matter how much it tries to hijack terminology.

  • http://diaryarticles.blogspot.com/ articles

    Co-incidentally, and tangentially I suppose, I saw the rewritten and resurrected Lloyd Webber /Ben Elton musical about “footballers and the troubles” musical in Lisburn tonight. It’s on until Saturday.

    Quite simply the best piece of musical theatre I’ve seen in the last fifteen years in BTland. I saw it originally in London a long time ago and it was good, very good, but a little too simplistic. This time around, I’m a little wiser, and Lloyd Webber /Ben Elton appear to have have learned a wee bit too.

  • http://fitzjameshorselooksattheworld.wordpress.com/ fitzjameshorse1745

    With respect Red Lion, its not about family ties to the Republic….its merely about being an Irish citizen. No more no less.
    It cannot be my concern that Norn Iron is at a disadvantage (as you put it).
    The fact that I have relatives in Antrim, Armagh and Tyrone makes me no less Irish because I dont have some in Galway.
    Any northerner, nationalist or otherwise has the right to take every penny of funding he can get and walk away.
    If Norn Iron is at a disadvantage……so be it. Norn Iron is about as much interest to me as Bulgaria or Equatorial Guinea.
    Its about Rights.
    What youre suggesting is a compromise of those Rights.

    FIFA rules are clear (and Norn Iron blew it all by an ill judged legal case)
    Irish citizenship is clear.
    It is no concern of nationalists to make Norn Iron viable, in any area, including the football arena.
    Any commitment to a homogenous Norn Iron undermines nationalism itself. Why on earth would nationalism make concessions to boost Norn Irons FIFA rankings?

  • comhfhreagrai eachtrannach

    If the DUP won this battle, denying Irish citizens their right to play for their country, what would be next? Should another law be enacted to prevent people born in the North having a right to an Irish passport?
    Nationalists have to at least try and emphasize with those who feel British. We’d appreciate the favour being returned.

  • comhfhreagrai eachtrannach

    Sorry, it’s late – make that ‘empathize’ !

  • tacapall

    Is this a husband and wife thing, Diane Dodds also brought this up in the European Parliament a day or so ago, what is going on. Is this a private matter or a DUP party agenda. Has this not gone as far as it can go with those who decide these matters, has this not already been settled, are they going to directly appeal to God next, scrapping the bottom of the barrel for the never an inch brigade. The 26 counties is no different than up here, its a clique and if your not in the right circle you wont be noticed, for young nationalists from the north there’s no other way but play for NI first to get noticed by those that scout for the ROI team simple as that, and no matter what anyone says Windsor Park will never ever be a warm house for Nationalists.

  • Mick Fealty

    Gallo,

    Rafa Nadal was the last tennis mens singles gold medalist in it was once was amateur, but clearly no more.

    St E,

    I don’t mind bloggers taking a party line, so long as they do their own thinking. I’m more than satisfied Chris thinks for him self. Could always do with another unionist blogger or two.

  • cynic2

    Awww come on Mick. In blogging terms Chris’s article is like starting feeding time in the zoo

  • Chris Donnelly

    St Etienne and Cynic
    The story was prompted by a DUP MP raising the matter in the first instance.

    Furthermore, Slugger works much better if we stick to the topic of discussion- and, to his credit, Red Lion has shown that there is an argument which Northern Ireland fans can and will make in response to mine and others supportive of the rights of northerners to represent the Republic.

    But I’d be more interested in hearing thoughts from unionist contributors to the site on how such a hostile attitude to one expression of the all-Ireland identity of their neighbours sits in a new era where we are supposed to be accepting and respecting each others’ identities.

  • Dec

    ‘The real issue which most Northern Ireland fans are annoyed with is that a nationalist NI player is happy to play for all Northern Ireland Under age teams right up to U-21 and even for the senior side in friendly games, only to turn turk at the last minute and head south, when all the time their precious shirt and space in development squads such as the milk cup NI team could have gone to a youngster who is desperate to play for Northern Ireland at all levels.’

    Who was the NI goalkeeper who played for all NI under age teams right up to U-21, and who saw his chances of playing for the Senior squad evaporate when someone at the IFA realised lee Camp was eligible? I’ve yet to see any NI fan get upset over the plight of that ‘youngster’. Football’s a meritocracy – if you’re good enough you’ll play. If you want your association to run itself on the basis that it will only pick the ‘Rudys’ of the world, see where that gets you.

  • Johnny Boy

    Surely these young men are making a footballing decision rather than a political one. If NI was the dominant footballing force you’d see players coming the other direction if they were eligible. It happens all over the world, surely the real question is, what is the point in international football?

  • john

    Johnny boy you are probably right which makes it all the more odd that when the IFA were offered the ability to select players from all over Ireland they rejected it. 10 years from now Northern Ireland may be the better team, now Im not saying there will be guys from Dublin and Cork queing up to play for Northern Ireland but you might find players in England with grandparents from the Republic able to declare for Northern Ireland but the IFA rejected the idea and when Michael O’Neil talked about it again it all seemed a bit late

  • FuturePhysicist

    Colin Murray called James McClean a Northern Irish person simply on the basis of residency … he said nothing of his right to play for whoever he wants when eligible for said country.

    Colin Murray refers to himself as Irishman all the time.

    In some sense tolerance breeds tolerance here.

    The likes of Martin O’Neill, Neill Lennon, Patrick McCourt, Neill McGinn and so many other Catholics and or Nationalists, have never really been criticised for their choice. I also believe if a member of the Irish nationalist community were to play for GAWA their wishes would be respected.

    I think while many don’t like it, Irish nationalists can tolerate God Save the Queen in the same way atheist and anti-monarchists do, in the same way they do when Ireland or the Republic of Ireland play England. Sports professionals focused on their game may attach no meaning to songs and anthems.

    I think many in the Irish Nationalist community have rightly or wrongly concerns about sectarianism, and the attacks on Neill Lennon may’ve put many off the idea of playing for the more local team or reinforced attitudes.

    An another big factor is that Northern Ireland isn’t winning games to attract more players from all communities here. I agree that success on the pitch would make it more likely that Irish nationalists would play for GAWA than not. Aarron Hughes said as much.

  • Neil

    I wonder what exactly the Tory party position is regarding the NI football team’s eligibility problems? It’s funny, he wants the British and Irish governments to meet to discuss this – can the NI government not meet with the Irish government or do you need your mammy to hold your hand? Pathetic.

    Doddsy (and others) positions can be summarised thusly: international opinion thinks you’re wrong, half of NI’s population thinks you’re wrong, most of ROI’s population thinks your wrong, FIFA thinks you’re wrong and (most importantly) CAS thinks you’re wrong. So in essesnce you guys are right and the rest of the world is wrong. Or vice versa. Either way it’s a battle that’s already been won by the 32 county Irish teams and it’s fans, so keep it coming lads.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail madraj55

    Republic of Connaught. Dodds seems to have no shame at all from his Radio Ulster rant yesterday He said it was an injustice that players were able to choose their sovereign identity and added that nobody should haver to just put up with an unjust situation indefinitely, which is rich indeed coming from a unionist in the statelet here.

  • G.A.S

    Just an example for all posters, as a youth with distinct republican roots I was chosen to be a member of the N.I under 17 panel for the 2010/11 European Championship Qualifying campaign.. it was a great honour, and unsuprisingly my neighbours were fully supportive as they seen it as an opportunity for one of their own to make, possibly a better life for himself ! However, upon meeting up with the squad for a residential weekend, a member of the squad got a wallet stole containing over £50 and i was the one who was accused in the wrong by management as i was in the room next to him and i had my room searched as if i was being investigated by the PSNI uder warrant .. obviously, i defended myself to the hilt, but yet the blame was still placed on me. This greatly annoyed me and once, the wallet was found, in the shoe of the person that had originally lost it, not one person, neither management nor other player came once to apologise to me ! I believe, i was the one accused as i was Nationalist from a well known socially deprived area amongst a group of open Unionists, and this is in some way why i believe, it is not right for the likes of the DUP, TUV and other political parties to deny the right of Nationalist soccer players the right to choose who they wish to play for, be it ROI or anyother home nation, as still even in our “forward moving” times of “inclusion and intergretation,” human choice should be at the forefront of all, and James McCleans alongside Mark Wilson and Shane Duffy’s choice to play for the ROI, should not be criticised, because if current systems in place dont change, talented soccer players as a whole from a nationalist background will be lost forever..

  • Mike the First

    Sinn Féin’s position as expressed by Pat Sheehan seems rather schizophrenic.

    Players from Northern Ireland should have the “fundamental right” to choose which international side to play for, but they should have that right removed by the setting up of one all-Ireland team.

    If there’s logic in that position, I’m struggling to see it.

  • Neil

    Allow me to help Mike. They are two distinct situations. So if there are to be two associations all NI residents, British, Irish or both, should have the ability to select their association up until their first senior international.

    However it would be preferable, instead of the situation described above, if there was to be one national side picking players from all over the island.

  • michael-mcivor

    Now that the d.u.p have caught on that northern Irish players can play for who- ever they want to in Ireland, they want inter Goverment talks on the issue- in other words they think that the big brit goverment can or will sort this matter out- good thing that the Good Fiday Agreement is bigger than any goverment-

  • Mike the First

    So, Neil, what SF seem to be saying is that nationalists ought to have the fundamental right (their words) to play for “Ireland” (“their country”). But ideally, in their view, unionists would not have the option of playing for Northern Ireland (“their country”), they’d have to play for Ireland.

    Well, that’s not hypocritical at all, now, is it…

  • turnpike

    I thought the ROI plastic paddy picking era had died out with Jack Charlton…. obviously not

  • manichaeism

    People from Northern Ireland are real Paddys turnpike. Some of them might not like that but just ask the English what they think!

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail madraj55

    michael-mcivor. At least now the DUP might stop claiming that the Good friday Agreementy is dead thanks to them killing it off in a Scottish golf course. But if they still insist it’s dead, maybe they should try telling the IFA that.

  • Neil

    Mike,

    So, Neil, what SF seem to be saying is that nationalists ought to have the fundamental right (their words) to play for “Ireland” (“their country”).

    I have not seen, read or heard Pat Sheehan’s remarks. I would point out in your initial post you said Players from Northern Ireland should have the “fundamental right” to choose which international side to play for. Which is very much different to your second post which says that nationalists ought to be able to play for Ireland. The first appears to apply to ‘players’ while the second appears to apply to ‘nationalist players’.

    Now option one sounds the more likely in which case he’s simply stating (what FIFA, CAS and the rest of the world sees as self-evident) that Northern Irish players, Nationalist, Unionist and other should be allowed to select which team represents them. Now that. to me, sounds like equality for all, the same rules applying to everyone is pretty much the definition thereof.

    But ideally, in their view, unionists would not have the option of playing for Northern Ireland (“their country”), they’d have to play for Ireland.

    Your letting paranoia take hold man. Ideally there would be one team. I assume Sheehan didn’t provide a detailed plan for sunsetting the NI or ROI team, and hence you really don’t know whether he’d prefer an NI based all Ireland team or a Dublin one, or anything else for that matter over and above having one association based on this island. You apparantly have leapt to the conclusion that one Ireland team means no IFA. I’m open to correction or did the MP for West Belfast (who, given his position, would surely favour an NI based all Ireland team) actually say any of that, or are you just filling in the blanks with the old Unionist fear?

    Well, that’s not hypocritical at all, now, is it…

    Correct. Allow me to again interpret the statement. I’d prefer an all Ireland team, but in the current situation it seems only fair that all players in NI have the same, equal right to define their Nationality (from the available options) and play for the country that represents them.

    It’s an either or scenario. I may go to a restaurant or I may go home and cook a pizza I have in the freezer. If I go to the restaurant I should be allowed to choose what I want, but ideally I would go home and have the pizza because I haven’t got lots of money.

    It’s a situation in which there are two scenarios. In scenario one I have a distinct set of options. In scenario two I have a different and distinct set of options. I express preference for scenario two. Simple.

  • Neil

    Incidentally Mike if you can I’d love to know, you clearly don’t approve of the notion that NI Unionist player would be faced with two options: play for an all Ireland team or don’t play at all. So given that disapproval how do you feel about the idea that NI born nationalists should be faced with the same two decisions that you seem to be against should they be posed to a Unionist. This seems to be what most NI fans are arguing for, in spite of the various rulings.

    NI Unionist player, play for all Ireland team or don’t play. That would be a bad thing.

    NI Nationalist player, play for NI or don’t play at all. That would be the ideal solution.

    Well, that’s not hypocritical at all, now, is it…

    Quite.

  • turnpike

    Northern Irish folks can all themselves Rwandan for all I care….it doesn’t make them so

  • DT123

    So after all the talk ,there is one defector in the RoI squad,

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/16909171

    and he probably won’t get a game.A lot of noses are getting removed to spite the nasty Protestants it would seem.

  • Neil

    A lot of noses are getting removed to spite the nasty Protestants it would seem.

    Quite right you are, as no Irishman makes any decision which hasn’t got the all important Ulster prod at it’s heart. Clearly all these players are going south for no other reason than to wind up the prods. Has nothing to do with allegiance, support, or heaven forbid, the various Loyalist trappings of the NI Linfield crowd, nope every decision we fenians make, we do so with you in mind.

    I would suggest that McClean not making the squad for this game doesn’t necessarily read that his international career’s over, you never know the 32 county Irish team might play some other games. Ya know, after this one. James could get his callup yet. At least his Unionist-centric decision making process might not prevent him from playing internationally. Ya never know.

  • Mike the First

    Neil

    “I have not seen, read or heard Pat Sheehan’s remarks.”

    Well, then, read the link provided by in the OP!

    “I would point out in your initial post you said Players from Northern Ireland should have the “fundamental right” to choose which international side to play for. Which is very much different to your second post which says that nationalists ought to be able to play for Ireland. The first appears to apply to ‘players’ while the second appears to apply to ‘nationalist players’.”

    That would be because he’s really arguing that players from Northern Ireland have a “fundemantal right” to be able to play for the Republic of Ireland. Players from Northern Ireland being able to play for Northern Ireland is pretty self-evident – if, of course, there is a NI team. Which he wants done away with.

    “Now option one sounds the more likely in which case he’s simply stating (what FIFA, CAS and the rest of the world sees as self-evident) that Northern Irish players, Nationalist, Unionist and other should be allowed to select which team represents them. Now that. to me, sounds like equality for all, the same rules applying to everyone is pretty much the definition thereof.”

    Yet in the next breath he wants this situation done away with. How odd. Could it be that it’s because supporting the status quo while simulataneously aiming for one all-Ireland team is about a “right” gained for “nationalists” on one hand (being able to play for ROI while being from NI), and a “nationalist” aspiration on the other (one all-Ireland team)…He’s saying that if a NI team must exist, nationalists should be able to play for the team that best suits their identity (ROI, to him), but ideally, everyone should play for the team that best suits nationalists’ identity.

    “Your letting paranoia take hold man. Ideally there would be one team. I assume Sheehan didn’t provide a detailed plan for sunsetting the NI or ROI team, and hence you really don’t know whether he’d prefer an NI based all Ireland team or a Dublin one, or anything else for that matter over and above having one association based on this island. You apparantly have leapt to the conclusion that one Ireland team means no IFA. I’m open to correction or did the MP for West Belfast (who, given his position, would surely favour an NI based all Ireland team) actually say any of that, or are you just filling in the blanks with the old Unionist fear?”

    ROI fans, and nationalists in general, treat the ROI football team as “Ireland” – conversely, quite a few southern/nationalist fans of the Ireland rugby team insist on attaching ROI symbolism to the Ireland team and having no NI symbolism. ROI fans, wherever they are from on the island, would still be able to get on with supporting “Ireland” and feel they are supporting (or indeed playing for) “their country”. Whereas those of us who see Northern Ireland as “our country”…

    “Correct. Allow me to again interpret the statement. I’d prefer an all Ireland team, but in the current situation it seems only fair that all players in NI have the same, equal right to define their Nationality (from the available options) and play for the country that represents them.”

    But, apparently, you’d prefer a situation where it’s not “only fair” and there is no “equal right”. Demand equality only when the set-up doesn’t suit your political aspirations or national outlook, but aim for a set-up that does suit these, and which would preclude this “equality” and “fairness”. Doublethink.

    “It’s an either or scenario. I may go to a restaurant or I may go home and cook a pizza I have in the freezer. If I go to the restaurant I should be allowed to choose what I want, but ideally I would go home and have the pizza because I haven’t got lots of money.”

    Or in your terms and Pat Sheehan’s, if you go to the restaurant, they have to have pizza on the menu to satisfy you, but ideally you’d only have pizza on the menu and that’s what everyone has to order.

    “It’s a situation in which there are two scenarios. In scenario one I have a distinct set of options. In scenario two I have a different and distinct set of options. I express preference for scenario two. Simple.”

    Then don’t make such a big play of scenario one being so great because it contains choice, and talk about “fundemental rights” and equality, when actually your real preference is to do away with choice, equality and these “fundemantal rights”. Because that would just be so much hot air, and highly hypocritical.

    ———————
    Incidentally Mike if you can I’d love to know, you clearly don’t approve of the notion that NI Unionist player would be faced with two options: play for an all Ireland team or don’t play at all. So given that disapproval how do you feel about the idea that NI born nationalists should be faced with the same two decisions that you seem to be against should they be posed to a Unionist. This seems to be what most NI fans are arguing for, in spite of the various rulings.

    NI Unionist player, play for all Ireland team or don’t play. That would be a bad thing.

    NI Nationalist player, play for NI or don’t play at all. That would be the ideal solution.

    Well, that’s not hypocritical at all, now, is it…

    Quite.
    ————-

    Where, exactly, do you think the hypocrisy comes in? The NI fans you talk of aren’t the ones making the argument based on a “fundemental to choice” – that would be Pat Sheehan et al. Where did you get the idea they were?

    Have you seen any of these NI fans you speak of saying that the reason the NI football team should continue to exist is because of “choice”? If not, you’re simply putting up a rather silly straw man.

    I am the one turning Sheehan’s comments about “choice”, and yours, back at him, and you. That’s me, an individual. And since you ask, I think that since FIFA globally operates the principle of nationality qualifying players for international teams (excluding flags of convenience), then that’s the framework we have to operate in, and should get on with it. My issue is really with players switching national teams at a pretty advanced stage (a la James McClean) – I think that FIFA were wrong to remove the age cap of 21, and that it should be reintroduced or even lowered to 18.

  • salgado

    Neil
    >I would suggest that McClean not making the squad for this game doesn’t necessarily read that his international career’s over, you never know the 32 county Irish team might play some other games.

    Is there a 32 county Irish team? That’s news to me. I thought we had one with 26 counties in the ROI and another with 6 in NI.

  • ForkHandles

    The problem here seems to be a result of the idea sold to nationalists, that if they wish, they can pretend they are from the ROI, and then they are actually from the ROI (in some strange magic way), even though everyone knows this is pretend nonsense to keep the IRA supporters quiet.
    We know this is part of the deal to put an end to the terrorist campaign from the IRA, but in the real world it is nonsense.
    One practical problem is with the standard parent/grandparent eligibility for playing football. In the real world if your parents/grandparents are from a country, then you can play for that country. Fair enough if it applies to all countries. But there is the “pretend issue” in NI. To stop the terrorists killing people it was necessary to set up a strange idea that people in one country can pretend they are from the ROI if they suddenly decide so. Everyone knows that it is nonsense for people from NI to pretend they are actually from the ROI. But if it only means that they make fools of themselves at the airport claiming they are from the ROI but have a UK address and postcode on their passport, then its not a problem. But back in the real world we have the problem with people from NI coming up through the NI youth and football training facilities etc. (IE, money being wasted on them) then deciding that they are going to pretend they are from the ROI, even when everyone knows they are from NI.
    How do we fix this problem? Maybe ask FIFA to require Irish players to only play for the Irish country they are born in (ROI or NI) or their parents/grand parents lived in? Surely this would be the sensible solution to the problem?

  • Dec

    ‘Northern Irish folks can all themselves Rwandan for all I care….it doesn’t make them so’

    Painful as it is for me to skewer the ramblings of an internet troll, the Good Friday Agreement states that the one thing Northern Irish Folk are not is, well, Northern Irish. Ironic, eh?

  • salgado

    Though I agree that James McClean will be in the ROI squad soon enough, and should be free to choose that if he wishes.

    The difficulty is just that some of these players have already been playing at U21 or Senior level for NI. Surely if you’re that strongly against it, you could have made your mind up before accepting a call up (like Gibson, who left after U16).

  • lover not a fighter

    Reply to Four Candles above.

    Your position (oft repeated in the post) is the way you would like it to be but thats not the way it actually is.

    Living proof: James McClean, Darron Gibson, Marc Wilson to give three examples.

    Now you can keep on repeating your position and you may eventually even convince yourself but the rest of us will just continue with things the way they are.

  • ForkHandles

    LNAF, what is the way it actually is? Would you describe it in your own words? I bet it would sound unfair if you actually thought about it? Do you mean that someone can decide they are eligible for a country they are not born in, or their parents or grandparents were not from? Surely you see the practical problem here? It is the nonsense of nationalists somehow being part of a country they don’t live in…
    I think that if it keeps some people in NI happy, then by all mean take out an ROI passport and say that you are from the ROI if it makes you happy  But in the real world, the real world rules should apply. IE, birth, parents, grandparents etc. The same for ROI players who don’t get on the ROI team, they should not be eligible for NI (or England,Scotland,Wales) if they don’t meet the criteria.

  • ForkHandles

    the square = :)

  • galloglaigh

    Just a quick one for Forkhandles:

    Your Driving Licence has your address and postcode, not your passport!

    The title of the thread is made more blatantly obvious, by your attempts to disallow Nationalists in Ireland, the right to be Irish. Take your oil big man; it is how it is; and won’t change any time soon. People don’t want to associate with a team, that has a minority of bigots among its fan base who don’t want a Fenian about Windsor Park. Change that, and the problem might be addressed then – But until then, the situation remains as is!

  • turnpike

    Entirely agree with Forkhandles that it makes a mockery of the rule that the entire world of football (except ROI,NI) have to abide by i.e. that you have to have been born or have parents/grandparents born in the country you wish to play for.

    NI nationalists’ delusions remind me of the scene in the Life of Brian (swap woman/have babies to ‘be from Ireland’ ) –

    [The members of "The People's Front of Judea" are sitting in the amphitheatre. Stan has just announced that he wants to be a woman and wants to be called "Loretta," and is explaining why.]
    Stan: I want to have babies.
    Reg: You want to have babies?!?!
    Stan: It’s every man’s right to have babies if he wants them.
    Reg: But … you can’t HAVE babies!
    Stan: Don’t you oppress me!
    Reg: I’m not oppressing you, Stan. You haven’t got a womb! Where’s the fetus gonna gestate? You gonna keep it in a box?

  • SethS

    To state at the outset as neither an NI or ROI supporter, I have no stake in the issue one way or the other.

    That said, I really don’t see the point in pushing this issue any further – the CAS has ruled that the selection meets the current FIFA criteria (which applies to all FIFA members) so what’s the point.

    The FIFA rules are fairly clear. Article 15.1 states that:
    “Any person holding a permanent nationality that is not dependent on residence in a certain country is eligible to play for the representative teams of the Association of that country.” As all NI born persons are entitled to ROI nationality there is no residence issue.

    The IFA’s case essentially fell on the interpretation of Article 16 which states “A Player who, under the terms of art. 15, is eligible to represent more than one Association on account of his nationality…” and then sets out the terms. This sentence is to be fair a bit ambiguous. The IFA claimed nationality should refer to any nationality which was held by a playe. The FAI (and FIFA) contended that this refered specifically to a single nationality which conferred the right to play for a number of associations.

    CAS looked at previous versions, the versions in other languages, and the fact that this rule is essentially in place to cover the Home Unions, and concluded that the FAI and FIFAs interpretation was correct.

    Much as FIFA is a pretty abhorrent organisation in many ways, if you want to be in the club you’ve got to accept the rules which you signed up to or get out of the club.

    The IFA accepted the introduction of the rules in 2009, has sought interpretation, and has lost. Surely better at this stage to just get on with it.

    The FAI are not taking advantage of any FIFA regulations specifically targetted at them to do this.

    In fact the only associations for whom specific provision has been made in the regulations is the Home Nations including the IFA. Under their normal regulations anyone UK citizen could play for any of the Home Nations (as those who fail to meet any of the Article 16 criteria for anyone still can eg Maik Taylor). The effect of Article 16 is to stop the other Home Nations poaching NI players.

    The peculiarity of the situation arises from the the fact that the ROI automatically grants citizenship to anyone born in NI. I’m not sure if there is anywhere where this is an issue – possibly China and Taiwan/HK/Macau.

  • salgado

    >turnpike
    Entirely agree with Forkhandles that it makes a mockery of the rule that the entire world of football (except ROI,NI) have to abide by i.e. that you have to have been born or have parents/grandparents born in the country you wish to play for.

    Apart from players (Deco for example) who become qualified for the passport of a different country to the one they (or their parents) were born in.

    People in NI are entitled to a ROI passport, therefore they are entitled to play for the ROI.

  • ForkHandles

    galloglaigh, im fairly sure my mate from WB had his address on his ROI passport. But i’ll check that….

    Im not attempting to disallow Nationalists in Ireland the right to be Irish as you so dramatically put it! :) I am as equally Irish as anyone from ROI even though I am from NI and am therefore a British National. If people in NI want an ROI passport they can have it. But the normal rules for football eligibility apply to all countries. I think they should apply to NI and ROI. If you are not born in the country, if your parents or grant parents are not born there, then you should not be eligible to play for that country. Its simples!!

    By the way, when you resort to sectarian terms like fenian (cringe), it means you have lost the argument!! :D

    Go on, have another go at disagreeing with the normal rules for all countries ! :D

  • lover not a fighter

    Reply to Forkhandles above 4;10pm. You probably would have a point if Northern Ireland was like your average run of the mill country but it is’nt.

    It has very different political institutions to the run of the mill.

    There was a Good Friday treaty/agreement which has a bearing here.

    If they wish all people in NI can have an Irish passport.

    Previously there was one Football association for Ireland. The South should’nt have separated but we are where we are .

    Is NI a country ?. Or Scotland ,Wales and England.Thats ones a bit weak but still apoint of contetion for some.

    In short NI is a special place that warrants special leeway.

    Enjoy being special and get used to some people in NI making choices for themselves.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Mike

    That was well put. I am of the mind that we should let them go. They have made their choice and obviously prefer playing with like minded people. There is nothing that we can do to change that. We need players that want to play for NI. At the end of the day only eleven players can get on the pitch at ant one time. It will be interesting to see how many of these players will be invovled at the top level.

    As a rugby fan I get really annoyed at the need to display the republican flag at the island of ireland games. Along with the playing of the republican anthem it makes it a very uncomfortable experience for unionists. There is no need for these republican emblems at a cross community event. Reublicans often mention the playing of GSTQ and union flag at Windsor and that it is alien to nationalists yet do not consider the unionist players and fans of the island of ireland rugby team.. I have no problem with GSTQ being dropped for NI games. Do you , Chris, believe that the SS is not an anthem that unites the rugby fans or players of the island of ireland team. Or do believe like de Valera did, that unionists will have to accept their lot and be prepared to accept the dominance of the republican majority on the island.

  • tacapall

    ForkHandles (profile)
    10 February 2012 at 3:54 pm

    The problem here seems to be a result of the idea sold to nationalists, that if they wish, they can pretend they are from the ROI, and then they are actually from the ROI (in some strange magic way), even though everyone knows this is pretend nonsense to keep the IRA supporters quiet.

    Maybe this is why we Nationalists were sold that idea.

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2012/02/05/to-prosecute-cases-if-the-evidence-emerges/

    Note the many PUL comments on the subject – Shows what they really think.

  • ForkHandles

    Interesting quotes from SethS. Technically it would appear that the rules allow the holding of a passport to supersede residence and parent eligibility.

    It would seem that the solution would be for the ROI to abide by normal passport rules and only grant passports to residents. Problem solved…..

    But in the event that this does not happen, if I were in charge of the IFA I would continue to petition FIFA to have an exception rule applied to account for the NI/ROI passport situation. It is an abnormal situation were the ROI grants passports to people who do not live in the country. There should be an exception to ignore passports and stick with the residency, parents rules for Irish players.

  • ForkHandles

    tacapall, i skimmed that link, it seemed to be about some murder and the usual selection of cringe worthy slugger catch phrases. I don’t read those threads I’m afraid.

    “Note the many PUL comments on the subject – Shows what they really think.”

    I’ll just take it that you really, really, reeeeaaaallly, think themmuns are bad…. Nice one :)

    Any views on the eligibility thing?

  • Republic of Connaught

    Alan N/Ards,

    I don’t agree with the anthem in Dublin either. But at least the IRFU make some effort by playing only Ireland’s Call away from Dublin. NI play GSTQ home AND away and made no concession whatsoever. Moreover, at the British and Irish Lions games Union Jacks are plentiful in the crowd. Despite it being a mixed nationality team Irish people accept many British supporters waving their flags. You should do the same seeing tricolours in Dublin.

    Forkhandles,

    As regards you being as Irish as anyone else on this island, that’s a personal matter. However to Unionists Irish isn’t a national identity, it’s merely a regional indentity within the UK placed below the British indentity. Hence you carry British passports. Those passports don’t mention you being Irish, do they?

    To the 5 million plus nationalist Irish people of this island, north and south, Irish is our NATIONAL identity hence our national passports say clearly we are from Ireland. Thus anyone born on the island who sees being Irish as his national identity can play for the Republic, irrespective of who governs the corner of Ireland they are from.

    Which is what was determined in court.

  • tacapall

    ForkHandles (profile)

    Any views on the eligibility thing?

    No not really. As far as Im aware CAS made a ruling on it, FIFA have no problem with it so from my point of view and the rest of the worlds except of course your good selves, people born in Ireland can play for Ireland and have the luxury of getting the British government to pay for their training.

  • ForkHandles

    fair enough tacapall. i feel that its fair for all countries to face a drain on players from birth/parents rule, but i think its unfair for us in NI to have an extra drain from the ROI passport to non residents issue. i hope that IFA continue to press for a exception to this rule for irish players.

    RoC, Its probably for another thread about the identity thing. The British passport states the “United Kingdon of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”. I’m from NI and the passport refers to where im from. All the home nations have their own identity in addition to the nationality of British. Im as Irish as anyone from the ROI, my nationality is British the same as anyone from the nations of the UK. Its not really an issue for most people in the UK.

    Anyways, its late here and i’ve had a long day. I’m sure all of us on slugger who are from NI, and also people in ROI, will be joining our First and Deputy FMs when they are cheering on NI at Windsor at the next NI game ! :)

    Good Night!

  • between the bridges

    funny how sometimes you just have to read a ‘headline’ and you automatically know who author of the thread is! nice link to twitter it illustrates that there are knobs on the internet expressing all types of views. as far as i know (correct me if i am wrong) dodds is a couch potatoe and never has set foot in windsor wonderland so why he is giving his tuppence i don’t know! as for James McClean good luck to him he looks a prospect and i hope he has a long career.
    the fai could do with upgrading their coaching staff as it’s seems that the n.i, scots, and english set up’s are providing all the ‘irish’ talent…

  • Red Lion

    Dec, you are wrong, as regards NI goalie Lee Camp – he qualifies for NI because of the grandparent rule, so thats fine – the grandparents rule applies to all countries in the world. NI aint got a special rule to pick someone from a different association like the ROI does.

    We are talking about the eligibility rule in this thread – the ROI are now unique in world football in being eligible to select all players from another association even when such players (ie from NI) dont have a parent or grandparent from the ROI. Seems to be a right few on here dont actually understand the ruling. I also include some of our politicians in that, Dodds being one.

    I’d like to make clear a couple of things – Most NI fans who go to games accept the ‘right’ of NI born nationailists to go and play for the ROI. We accept that principle. However, just because we accept that principle does not mean that the ROI or certain young players should abuse and piss over the NI football setup – there has to be a fairness and sense of equity and proportionality in how this right is borne out in a practical sense and currently the way this right is being exercised, all these values are lacking, stoking up tension and undermining a bettering society

    However, 1)we believe it unfair that Northern Ireland stands alone in world football in having to accomodate such a ruling-and are immediiately put at a distinct disadvantage to every other association in the world. (Even the CAS acknowledged this)

    2) we feel it disproportionately and perversely unfair that we can train and develop young NI players right up to U-21 level and even senior friendly games in the knowledge that some of those players may have no intention of playing for NI at senior level, and are abusing their development place – while all the while their shirt could have gone to a youngster who is desperate to play for NI.

    Most of us think a compromise has to be reached on the practicalities, ive read of a number of southern based commentators who think NI are being treated shabbily. Ive said before, a fair compromise might be to allow all NI underage players to choose the Republic even if theyve played for NI underage sides up to age 18, but once they become an adult they cant play for the NI U21 side and then move.(The ROI have to become responsible for their development) I believe this is fair, and this is what Dodds might be better pushing for if he (and others) can get their heads round the issues.

  • Alan N/Ards

    ROC

    The team name british and irish lions means that there will be people from england, scotland, wales, northern ireland and the republic. No one is claiming that the union flag is the flag of the british and irish lions. On the other hand the tricolour is/was used as the flag of the irish team ie the world cup last year comes to mind. I’m an irish rugby fan and that flag is not the flag that I give my allegiance too.

    I want the ifa to drop GSTQ and I want irfu to drop the SS. Domination and in your face flying of flags will never bring about unity on this island.

  • SK

    “Everyone knows that it is nonsense for people from NI to pretend they are actually from the ROI. But if it only means that they make fools of themselves at the airport claiming they are from the ROI but have a UK address and postcode on their passport, then its not a problem.”

    _

    Forkhandles,

    It betrays a certain arrogance when you suggest over and over again that “everyone knows” your opinion is the only viable one.

    In the real world, northern nationalists are Irish citizens as a matter of birthright. In the real world, they are entitled to be identified as Irish and not British. I understand that this is upsetting to individuals of your disposition, but I all I can say is tough luck. Their nationality is none of your business.

    Also, when you talk about the absurdity of FIFA making an exception for the unusual circumstances that exist on this island, are you completely unaware that the very existence of a Northern Ireland team is in itself an exception to FIFA’s usual policy? According to the letter of the law, you should all be playing for a single UK team, because as you say, that is what it says on your passport. Would you be happy with them enforcing that rule as blindly? Most of the lads of ‘our wee country’ would be lucky to make the bench let alone the pitch, but hey rules are rules aren’t they?

    You went to FIFA, you lost. You went to the court of arbitration you lost. Let it go.

  • FuturePhysicist

    We are talking about the eligibility rule in this thread – the ROI are now unique in world football in being eligible to select all players from another association even when such players (ie from NI) dont have a parent or grandparent from the ROI. Seems to be a right few on here dont actually understand the ruling. I also include some of our politicians in that, Dodds being one.

    I don’t see Northern Ireland being any more unique than England, Wales or Scotland in this. Plenty of English U21 have jumped ship to Wales or Scotland even the Irish teams just to get a game due to ancestry rules. It’s Northern Ireland’s weird relationship with the rest of the UK not it’s one with ROI that makes it a special case.

    Citizenship is a recognisable qualification for an international team … does anyone believe that Eduardo da Silva has third generation Croatian citizenship.

    As far as I’m concerned the likes of Paddy McCourt and Neill McGinn probably travel to most of the away games on Irish passport. No one is complaining.

  • FuturePhysicist

    sorry “its one” that should read.

  • Local hack

    Dodds has played a blinder here. Government interference in football matter is in contravention of FIFA’s own laws and could lead to expulsion from competition – see Togo’s government interventions and sanctions imposed – although in that instance the government had to intervene!

    But the main issue here is that these players that declare for ROI do so after going through the junior ranks of the IFA, therefore they have already cost the NI time and lots of cash on youth development.

    The IFA has to come to up with a policy that means that the youth it develops plays for the senior NI side!

    CHRIS – Is it not a matter of principle that youth players trained and developed by the IFA play for the IFA senior side instead of flitting off to the ROI when they realise it???

    Otherwise why would they not train with the FAI as youth players – Oh because it is easier and handier to train with the IFA!

    No one is saying they don’t have the right to play for the Ireland – its just the slap in the face that for 6/7/8 years they were nailed on N Ireland players – that is what really gets me !

  • Red Lion

    Futurephysicist

    Believe me,NI is way more unique than Eng in this-or virtually every other country in the world. I think a lot of people on here need to go and understand the eligibility rule.

    But yet u have contradicted yourself- eng u21 players go and then play for other countries senior teams because of, as you term it, ‘ancestry’ rules – or in football speak -the parents/grandparents rule. This rule is fine, i have no bones with it as it is applied universally across the board. The Eng u21 player needs a welsh parent or grandparent to play for wales senior team.

    What is different-i think this is the third time ive tried to explain this on this thread – is that an english u21 player with no welsh parent/grandparent cant just decide , hold on, ill go and play for wales-he needs a welsh parent/gparent to qualify.

    However, FIFA are now making NI the only association in the world where another association can pick off its players without the parent/g’parent rule. In effect, all who play for NI underage teams can pick if they play for NI OR ROI. Wales cant pick any English u21 player without parent/gparent rule to qualify that player. Nor can any other country, except the ROI. Im a simple man. If im not making it clear as to how NI are more disadvantagfed than every other association because of this rule then youll have to research the rule elsewhere. Im spent.

    I’ll grant ye the da silva example – in the case of INDIVIDUALS FIFA are certainly being a lot more relaxed about its own qualifying rules. Look at Equatorial Guinea in the Africa Nations Cup. But this concerns individuals, not a whole country being treated as a one-off.

  • stewart1

    “Dec, you are wrong, as regards NI goalie Lee Camp – he qualifies for NI because of the grandparent rule, so thats fine”

    Red Lion

    Prior to 2009 Lee Camp would actually have been ineligible for NI as he represented England at U21 level, but FIFA relaxed the rules and the IFA took advantage of the change.

    Probably just as well as FIFA closed the loophole that allowed the IFA to acquire the services of Maik Taylor who has zero bloodline with NI.

    The relaxing of the under 21 rule has also allowed the IFA to approach former ROI senior international Alex Bruce.

    Funny how NI supporters are so vociferous in their calling for players to declare their intentions at a young age yet have recently acquired the services of a 27 year old English international and are chasing a 27 year old Republic international?

    Funny that!!

  • BluesJazz

    Since neither side is seriously going to compete for a major tournament, it doesn’t matter.
    Combining 2 shite teams doesn’t make a good one.

    Only Uruguay have upset the odds on a small country winning the World Cup (twice) and the Copa America a record number of times. -In double figures- Not bad for a population of under 3 million.
    Southern Ireland are eqiuivalent to Bulgaria, and Northern Ireland to Slovenia.
    Those are the facts.

    So it goes…

  • BluesJazz

    “acquire the services of Maik Taylor who has zero bloodline with NI.”

    He was born on a British Army base, so any of the UK nations could have taken him.

    Can anyone tell me how Tony Cascarino
    was able to play for Southern ireland or any of the Home Nations?

  • stewart1

    “He was born on a British Army base, so any of the UK nations could have taken him.”

    BlueJazz

    And thus the four british associations exploited a loophole that was not open to any of the other 204 FIFA member associations.

    Funny how the IFA are now screaming injustice when they were happy to take advantage in the past.

  • Hogwarts

    Chris

    Don’t you tire of constantly trying to stir a controversy among the embers of dying unionism . Just get a life.

  • derrydave

    my two pennies worth:

    1. All this talk of players who were trained, developed, and brought up through the IFA’s underage set up is being very much overstated in importance. The fact is players receive the vast majority of their training and development (95%+ time wise) at their clubs whether that be thier junior local clubs or professional clubs if they have been lucky enough to have been signed up at a young age. Training and development received from the IFA is negligible.
    2. If anyone is in any doubt as to the allegience of the Nationalist population on NI in football terms they need only visit Derry, Strabane, Newry, or West Belfast this summer during the European Chamionships. These places will be absolutely buzzing with excitement – You’d be lucky to find a pub in any of these places which would even show a NI game live on TV.
    3. Given the very obvious and clear allegiences of the Nationalist population in NI, the only chance the NI football team have is to identify promising players and cap them at a young age, and then hoover up those who feel they will not get the opportunity to play for the Republic (see Paddy McCourt + Niall McGinn – players who are obviously fans of the Republic and who, given the opportunity, would much prefer to play for them).

    I understand why NI fans think the system is unfair – they do have a point, however they alternative is even more unfair.

  • NOT NOW JOHN

    Can anyone tell me how Tony Cascarino
    was able to play for Southern ireland or any of the Home Nations?

    From Wiki

    Cascarino was born in England but represented the Republic of Ireland, qualifying through his Irish grandfather. However, he later revealed that his mother told him in 1996 that she was adopted and therefore no blood relative to the grandfather. Cascarino said in his autobiography: “I didn’t qualify for Ireland. I was a fraud. A fake Irishman”. The adoption of his mother gained her the right to Irish citizenship and he was eligible.

  • lover not a fighter

    I believe that this was a book selling tactic from Cascarino and I was a bit dis-appointed with him.

    It seemed obvious that the adoption of his mother would gain her citizenship and that he was eligible.

    It is remarkable how many of these “plastic paddies” (for the want of a better term; Anglo-Irish perhaps) have garnered out good profiles in media circles in the UK.

    E.G. Andy Townsend, Ray Houghton, Tony Cascarino and Mattie Holland to name the first few that come to mind.

  • john

    This saga was closed along time ago. Dodds is deluded if he think FIFA will care what he has to say on the matter. The IFA im pretty sure have given up on this as well seeing they wasted so much money bringing it to court. FIFA would want nothing more than a UK team and are fed up with the special rights the home nations get including a permanent vice president. Im sure Wales, England and Scotland wouldnt be too happy if the IFA continually demanded equal treatment. Carefull what you wish for

  • Red Lion

    Stewart1

    The relaxing of the u21 rule as you call i, which allow Camp to play for NI, is fine as it was done across the board!! All countries have benefitted from it, and CAMP HAS A GRANDPARENT BLOODLINE TO NI!!!

    Any country has the right to pick an ex England U21 international who has not been senior capped by England but has a parent /grandparent bloodline, and vice versa!!! That is fair as it is one rule for all and we are happy to pick Camp up at age 27 as it is within the rules that apply to all!!

    The moving of Shane Duffy from NI to ROI is fair as he falls within this rule as his parent is from Donegal.

    The Republic now have a special rule to pick all NI underage players, over and above virtually all other countries, a rule which causes disproportionate unfairness and abuse of the NI footballing setup.

  • Dec

    ‘Dec, you are wrong, as regards NI goalie Lee Camp – he qualifies for NI because of the grandparent rule, so thats fine – the grandparents rule applies to all countries in the world. NI aint got a special rule to pick someone from a different association like the ROI does.’

    Wrong about what? I was making the poiny about Lee Camp being parachuted into the NI squad ahead of players who came up through the development squads thus depriving them of an full international career. Seemingly for NI fans that’s fine but McClean’s great crime is that he stopped somebody getting a place on the bench in a U19 fixture.
    It’s interesting that NI fans appear to accept that having a single Grandparent is a valid qualifying criterion but qualifying via Nationality by birthright is an outrageous affront to the fabric of the game.

  • Dec

    ‘The Republic now have a special rule to pick all NI underage players, over and above virtually all other countries, a rule which causes disproportionate unfairness and abuse of the NI footballing setup.’

    No they don’t! It’s entirely to do with citizenship – can you not get that through your head? Anyway, move on, it’s done.

  • Red Lion

    derrydave

    The input of the IFA into young players development is not negligible – most clubs even boys clubs in ni are likely to have benefitted from grants and advice/infrastructure of the IFA, the chance to play in development squads such as the NI milk cup, victory shield and U21 european championships is invaluable experience, not to mention such tournaments are heavily scouted and great exposure if gtrying to get that move across the the water.

    I agree with your point 2, and generally with your point 3 though i dont think its a given that just because you are a NI Catholic your automatic first choice would be the ROI, i think theres a fair bit of grey area for some – but it would be an essay and a half to tease that out.

    Im glad you see the ruling as unfair to NI. If theres unfairness then surely something has to be done to redress it. I say that as this is a special rule for ROI and against NI only and noone else, then there should be a special compromise – i think a fair compromise is that NI players up to age 18 can still move to ROI, but once you become an adult you have to choose – ie playing for NI U21 ties you to NI senior squad unless you have parent gparent rules to allow you to play for ROI. In practice this means that some nationalist NI would-be u21 players may just forgoe an U21 career to keep their options open – i can live with that as then their precious u21 development space can be used by someone who wants to truelly get on and play for NI-thus giving relief to the aspect of the eligibility ruling that most NI fans cant swallow . What do you think of this idea for a compromise??

  • Red Lion

    Dec , Lee Camp wasnt parachuted in – the rules that allow him to play for NI apply to all-. Thats absolutely fine happens in every country and is the way international football works for all – im a Northern Ireland fan and have no problem with it. Completely different to the situation re eligibility and trying to twist the Camp example which is a rule that applies to all, to the eligibility row has no creditbility.

    The issue isnt done btw. Granted NI politicians like Dodds are very unfocesed in their ramblings and dont understand the technicaliites.

  • derrydave

    Red Lion,

    Disagree with you on the IFA input to players development. Young players train with their clubs at least twice a week every week for years on end. This in my opinion is where they develop (thanks to the countless hours put in on a voluntary basis by their coaches) and the IFA have minimal input to this – even less so for those who go across the water at a young age.

    As regards Nationalist allegiences, I can only speak as someone who grew up in Derry City where allegiences were unquestionably given to the Republic by everyone I knew. I’ve never met anyone growing up who supported NI. This was something that was just completely natural and not something which was a choice as such. Italia 90, Germany 88, USA 94, Korea 02 were all massive events with fantastic memories in a way that simply wasn’t the case in Mexico 86 (I was supporting Argentina in Mexico 86). Maybe it is different for nationalists living elsewhere in NI, but this is the way it is in Derry.

    Regarding your compromise, yes I can see it has merit, however I would always be on the side of the arguement which gives people the maximum opportunity to play for the country where their allegiences lie and so would naturally prefer the status quo (am obviously also biased as a fan of the Republic). Agree that this is unfair somewhat on NI, but am happy to live with that :-)

  • Congal Claen

    The last thing NI needs is players with dubious commitment. Let them go. Then their place can be taken by someone who wants to play.

    Funny how things have changed tho’. During the 40s it was the FAI who complained to FIFA about NI still picking players from the Republic – the IFA being the senior organisation on the island.

  • alex gray

    Boris Johnson calls London St Patrick’s Day event ‘Lefty Sinn Fein crap’
    Not just the unionists who have a problem with other identities then ?

  • Dec

    ‘The issue isnt done btw’

    I’ll ignore your ramblings whereby citizenship of a country shouldn’t qualify you to play for that country’s football team, but the issue is most certainly considered closed by FIFA, the CSA, the FAI and the IFA. Your hypocritical indignation may get you wound up on Internet message boards but it won’t change anything.

  • galloglaigh

    One thing that hasn’t (I think?) been pointed out here: The IFA can also take players from the FAI. But why is the IFA not attractive to young nationalists or FAI players?

  • Kevsterino

    I think it makes Dodds look kind of pitiful, complaining about these kids making their own decision about what is best for them. Like a man who refuses his wife a divorce, insisting she stay with him in a loveless marriage. Pitiful.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Kev,

    You mean just like Nationalism’s desire to force NI unionists into a shotgun marriage with the Republic?