Culture Minister faces down IFA over reappointment of Martin…

Well, I have to say our ministers don’t have a lot of power to act effectively on their own, but Carál Ní Chuilín was adamant yesterday in the Assembly that her department was not going to back down over her refusal to allow funding to the Irish Football Association for the redevelopment of Windsor Park.

Why? This piece in the Belfast Telegraph explains:

At the centre of the row is one man, David Martin, who was elected deputy president of the Association last week. This row goes back to 2010 when DCAL said it could not release the promised £25m of funding while Mr Martin and the then President of the IFA remained in office. Both men stepped down.

But Mr Martin, who since then has failed three competency tests ordered by the government for IFA office-bearers, got back into office after the tests were dropped by the soccer body.

Many fans will wonder why the IFA dropped these tests which had been a precondition of funding. DCAL had asked for the tests over concerns about the association’s governance.[emphasis added]

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  • FDM

    ArdoyneUnionist 12 September 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Nice to see the point about Linfield fielding players form the RNRC community was glossed over.
    —————-

    Just a pity it took UEFA to threaten their meal ticket for them to start hiring and playing themmuns eh?

    Would you like me to link that for you?

  • Morpheus

    16 out of the 30 players were not from the RNRC community (indulge me – what does RNRC stand for again?)

  • between the bridges

    FDM So GAA county teams have no need to represent all sections of society in their county’s… it would have saved a lot of waffle if you had said that making ‘sporting’ symbolism ‘neutral’ only applies to themuns…

  • FDM

    between the bridges 12 September 2013 at 4:44 pm

    FDM So GAA county teams have no need to represent all sections of society in their county’s… it would have saved a lot of waffle if you had said that making ‘sporting’ symbolism ‘neutral’ only applies to themuns…
    ————————
    Is it a case of just writing anything at this point?

    The article is supposed to be about a “national” stadium and the “national” team. Those are the words the IFA suits use, not me.

    The fact they are building a “national” stadium that will only ever welcome half of the “nation” because of where it is, who owns it, the history of the place, the flags, anthems and all the rest is the disgrace here.

    If you are trying, or pretending to try, or trying to pretend to represent the “nation” as the “national” team then I think you need to make an effort across the spectrum of people you are supposed to represent. I think the IFA are pretending to try to do that to get the money and then being the same old bigots as ever they were in practice.

    If you refuse to become involved in or aren’t interested in GAA there are soccer teams in all six counties to represent local interests as an alternative. Being local their choice of regalia is their own. You can take it or leave it as far as following them goes, for both GAA and soccer. Most NI soccer fans would be of the opinion that absolutely everyone born in the six counties owes their allegiance to the NI team, yet do nothing to foster that. If you do not subscribe to this thinking then there is no alternative within the confines of the region.

    Therein lies YOUR problem.

  • collegejim

    Bluehammer:

    1. We have a flAG of our own. The Ulster Banner serves to represent NI in every other sporting field (see Rory, GMac, Darren etc in golf, the Commonwealth Games, etc etc). Why should the football team be any different?

    This might be your choice of rag… it ain’t mine. When was this consensus reached.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Chaps

    I appreciate that it’s a bit rich coming from me, he who wanders off course constantly, but this GAA chat is just swallowing the whataboutery.

    With regards to the IFA, their perceived luv-in with Linfield and the deleterious effect it has on NI football and indeed as a consequence the similar effect on society as a whole it really doesn’t matter a jot what the GAA do.

    The IFA does not have to emulate them in any shape or form regardless if the GAA is the model of efficiency, grace and compassion or if it is an engine room of Republican activities.

    The IFA should be doing right by their country, if their stadium is in a place that is intimidating to half of the country then they should address this.

    The positioning of Casement in this context is irrelevant.

    On a related note, the same applies for the fleg & anthem, if they too are intimidating/offensive/inappropriate/not strictly applicable then that too surely deserves examination by the body responsible for the interest and development of the land’s football.
    Again, what the GAA get up to, right or wrong, great or small has nothing to do with it.

    The GAA is just being used a get out of jail free card for IFA incompetence and Unionist stasis as it is in so many arguments (some of which I gladly join in on).

    Blue Hammer

    Lest ye think that no one’s listening to you, I for one am glad to read that you agree that the IFA should use elsewhere as the national stadium.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    FDM

    ” yet do nothing to foster that”

    Spot on again.

  • between the bridges

    FDM, Eye ‘represent’ myself alone, and I have no problem. imho ‘your’ problem is that you perceive a problem with one sports symbolism not being ‘inclusive’ and not another ‘sport’s’ symbolism. Waffling about national, international or intercontinental aspects does nothing to disguise the themuns and usuns logic of YOUR polyphonic prose…

  • between the bridges

    AG, threads/blogs/comments naturally or intentionally digress from the original subject, however to suggest that one set of sporting structures and symbolism can be debated without the need to be inclusive of other sporting structures and symbolism is hardly the way forward to a shared future…

  • FDM

    between the bridges (profile)

    13 September 2013 at 2:11 pm

    FDM, Eye ‘represent’ myself alone, and I have no problem. imho ‘your’ problem is that you perceive a problem with one sports symbolism not being ‘inclusive’ and not another ‘sport’s’ symbolism. Waffling about national, international or intercontinental aspects does nothing to disguise the themuns and usuns logic of YOUR polyphonic prose…
    ——————-

    I think my problem might be sticking to the point. Note it says IFA in this post title and no amount of WHATABOUT the GAA is going to cut it in answering the questions posed. Not to mention comparing what is overwhelmingly a local internally looking body to one that is wholly an internationally facing organisation is literally comparing apples with oranges.

    “a shared future…” To wrap this is up, please to explain what is shared future about Windsor Park?

  • Barnshee

    If the IFA and Linfield had the appropriate grey cells (always doubtful) they could reverse the position. Let IFA take full ownership of Windsor on agreed terms and grant Linfield a tenancy agreement and begins a Landlord tenant relationship -on whatever terms they wished.
    Make sure that no IFA committee member is on the Linfield board.while he is and IFA committee member.

    Continue the stitchup as before– IFA improve Windsor, Tenant reaps benefit

    PS Windsor for all its problems has potential -Visit the Arms Park-stadium in Cardiff on match day to see the impact of a city centre (or near city centre) stadium

  • between the bridges

    FDM to wrap it up direct your question to the divine Jerome it’s about ten years since he wore his GAA top to Windsor park hoping for a story, having lived to tell his tale he complained that no one past any remarks…

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Barnshee

    “PS Windsor for all its problems has potential -Visit the Arms Park-stadium in Cardiff on match day to see the impact of a city centre (or near city centre) stadium”

    You caught my attention with that one old bean.

    What do you mean? Is it bad crack so to speak? (genuinely asking).

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    BTB

    I appreciate the sentiment of your argument but I don’t believe that to be the case here, it is merely a political poker chip:

    “why should we make an inclusive sport inclusive when tha fenions won’t?!”

    Doesn’t wash I’m afraid.

  • between the bridges

    AG, Au contraire, you wish to exclude the ‘fenions’ from inclusive sporting debate (it’s probably that proddy streak within)

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    BTB

    “you wish to exclude the ‘fenions’ from inclusive sporting debate”

    I don’t at all.

    I just want the controversial elements of the IFA to be sorted out on their on merit without having to use the GAA as reference point.

    Why can’t we adopt the Scottish FA’s approach to their national team instead?

    Non-controversial fleg – check

    Anthem that most people are happy with (or not ‘unhappy with, take your pick) – check

    Decent stadium in an area that isn’t contentious – check

    Vs GAA

    Non-controversial fleg – nope

    Anthem that doesn’t wind up half of the population – nope

    In an area that isn’t contentious – nope

    Can we not raise the bar a wee bit?

    What ‘themuns’ do in terms of stadia is irrelevant, the national team of Northern Ireland should take into consideration all the people of Northern Ireland not just the half that we reckon will support them.

    If people don’t wish to support NI after all this effort then so be it but there’s nothing wrong with being on the moral high ground and doing right by your country.

    There should be no escape-clause on decent behaviour or respect.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Am Ghobsmacht

    Firstly
    Ulster GAA is building the biggest stadium and thus that will be the National stadium for “Northern Ireland”.

    BTW:
    The IFA is a footballing association not an National association.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    McSlaggart

    “Firstly
    Ulster GAA is building the biggest stadium and thus that will be the National stadium for “Northern Ireland”.”

    Quite frankly, whoopee-doo, that’s utterly irrelevant to switching the home of the NIl team to a neutral space and ending the IFA’s luv-in with Linfield.

    Why’d you even bother mentioning that for man?

    “BTW:
    The IFA is a footballing association not an National association.”

    Maybe not anymore or since FAI broke away from it, any way, again, it’s irrelevant.
    They are (regrettably) the movers and shakers for such matters involving the ‘national’ team.

    If you have a more agreeable term then please show it and I’ll consider using it.

    Now, are there any of my points that you agree or disagree with or did you just want to write something?

  • Barnshee

    AG

    “You caught my attention with that one old bean.

    What do you mean? Is it bad crack so to speak? (genuinely asking).”

    The Arms Park- (or Millennium Stadium if you must)- is in central Cardiff (-its as if Windsor or Casement were in Castle place) The atmosphere on the day is fabulous and the after match celebrations -win lose or draw-hectic. The City centre gets a massive cash injection. (Mind you I am talking about the oval ball game )

    Windsor is close enough to have the same impact. Further it is effectively “on” the railway line—Visit Stade de France in Paris on match day to see how proximity to a Railway line enhances the operation of a stadium.

    Properly run and developed Windsor has massive potential -aye but there the rub-“properly run and developed”

  • Mc Slaggart

    Am Ghobsmacht

    ” utterly irrelevant to switching the home of the NIl team to a neutral space”

    The GAA was fully supportive of the Maze site for a shared sporting venue for 3 different sports. It was the IFA who moved away from that and caused the situation in which the GAA have to upgrade their existing ground.

    The question is in what way is the current location of the new 40,000 all-seated national stadium not an ideal venue for most events?

    http://www.discovernorthernireland.com/Casement-Park-Belfast-P561

    I am sure the GAA will let the Football association use their nation ground if they got a big match.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Sigh

    McS

    Citing an example of IFA incompetence when I’m lamenting IFA incompetence is hardly a square in the jaw argument is it?

    We have spent X amount of posts here highlighting that the area in which Windsor Park is situated is not seen as a particularly welcoming area for 1/2 the population.

    Now you propose using a stadium (albeit a rather good one) in an area that would not sit well with the other 1/2 of the population.

    How’s that neutral?

  • Mc Slaggart

    “in an area that would not sit well with the other 1/2 of the population.”

    Why not?

    Their is nothing in that street to put anyone from going to a match.

  • FDM

    Mc Slaggart 14 September 2013 at 10:23 am

    “in an area that would not sit well with the other 1/2 of the population.”

    AG is right about this. Casement is not the answer for the some of the same reasons that Windsor is not the answer. The area is too partisan, simple as that.

    It seems very strange to say Casement will be the biggest it is therefore the “national” stadium.

    I encourage all to go to Google Earth and look at Belfast. You will find any amount of sites where you could stick a football stadium where it would be:
    1. Accessible to all.
    2. Good transport links.
    3. Close proximity to bars, restaurants.
    4. Close to city centre.
    5. Close to hotels.
    6. Close to other training facilities.
    7. Ample parking.
    8. Space for adjunct facilities.

    I have also outlined above that in business terms it is a relatively straight forward issue for the IFA to extricate themselves from this nefarious contract with Linfield, which is choking local competitive football. Government and FIFA backing of the mechanisms to make this happen once secured would make this extricating process a cake walk.

    That then means that:
    a. You can have a brand spanking NEW build stadium at a suitable location in Belfast.
    b. You may put a very large tick in the shared future box and by doing so extend the life of the team for a further period.
    c. Potentially open the door to themmuns coming into support or at least be able to say “this move is a tangible and massive step of the IFA trying to do Football For All”.
    d. Potentially keep more of best of themmuns playing for the team improving its competitive performance.

    The point is there is absolutely NO motivation in the IFA and outside in the greater support [those that don’t care about the Irish League] to do any of that. They are perfectly happy to continue the nefarious love-in with Linfield FC, regardless of the detriment to Football For All/Shared Future moves or indeed the crippling damage it delivers to the Irish League.

    The main motivation is seething and rampant sectarianism in the heart of the IFA and its wider support base. A protestant team for a protestant people. In 2013 its bollox.

  • Neil

    I’m sure Unionists would say the same about the Village. Give AG his dues he’s talking a rare amount of sense.

  • FDM

    Just a last point.

    People should realise that Linfield are basically holding the taxpayer to ransom over a contract that DOES NOT involve them.

    The contract is between the IFA and Linfield.

    We collectively should refuse to be financially extorted over a contract that is no longer valid [reasons provided above] and which was clearly had seriously dodgy outworkings from its inception.

  • Mc Slaggart

    FDM (profile) 14 September 2013 at 10:49 am
    Mc Slaggart 14 September 2013 at 10:23 am

    AG is right about this. Casement is not the answer for the some of the same reasons that Windsor is not the answer. The area is too partisan, simple as that.”

    How can any area be partisan? Now it may have things in it that would be of putting to other people and that could/should be addressed.

    What are the issues and how can they be addressed?

  • FDM

    “The main motivation is seething and rampant sectarianism in the heart of the IFA and its wider support base”

    Despite being an active member of that seething and rampant sectarian support base (and coincidently failing on 2 out 3 of its obvious PUL requisite conditions), I beg the right to insert several salient points which seem to have been ignored in this debate up to date.

    Firstly, DCAL’s problem with the IFA is not the choice of Windsor as the national stadium, it is the election of Martin as Vice-President.

    Secondly, it was not the IFA, the board of Linfield nor indeed NI’s rampant and sectarian support base which elected him to that position.

    Thirdly, the people/clubs that elected him to that position did so in full awareness of the effect it would have on the proposed funding coming to NI football.

    Fourthly, that funding is not just for the rebuilding of the stadium (or “hovel” in a working class “hovel” area as you poetically put it) but for financing of other clubs’ projects throughout Northern Ireland.

    We can dig in on the whataboutery, we can argue about the pros and cons of Windsor, we can even even insult each other’s sporting, cultural and political prefences but I am open to correction on any of those four points?

    For me, point three is the key and it’s important because it will not only affect us seething and rampant sectarian bigots who follow the Ni international teajm but NI football as whole.

    Partly, Mick’s fault for his sensationalist and superficial framing of the post but still, you and others on this thread are intelligent enough to see what the key issue is at the core of this, why don’t you engage on it?

  • FDM

    oneill 14 September 2013 at 4:08 pm

    “I am open to correction on any of those four points?”

    Thanks for that because Lordy do you need some correction.

    Coming in at number #4.

    “hovel” in a working class “hovel” area as you poetically put it”

    Actually I didn’t “put it”. Check above.

    “The main motivation is seething and rampant sectarianism in the heart of the IFA and its wider support base”

    Which is correct. I don’t see you suggesting anything to the contrary? Strange…

    “DCAL’s problem with the IFA is not the choice of Windsor as the national stadium, it is the election of Martin as Vice-President.”

    No actually it is the removal from articles of association relating those points relating to the necessity of those seeking election to senior positions being approved by an Independent Commission . DCAL said “The election of officers within the IFA is a democratic process and purely a matter for the IFA.” Hence not Martin, but the removal of the articles themselves that allowed for an individual like Martins election. So corrected again.

    “Secondly, it was not the IFA, the board of Linfield nor indeed NI’s rampant and sectarian support base which elected him to that position.”

    However it was the IFA who changed their articles of association to accommodate Martin. Martins election to IFA deputy president was done within the confines of the IFA. I didn’t get a vote, did you? Corrected again.

    “Thirdly, the people/clubs that elected him to that position did so in full awareness of the effect it would have on the proposed funding coming to NI football.”

    His IFA position was awarded through an IFA process. Corrected again.

    Anytime you need correction in the future you drop me a line.

    Since I have taken the time to address your concerns perhaps you could indulge me by explaining to me why Windsor is the “best” deal for NI football in all its facets?

  • Comrade Stalin

    McSlaggart

    How can any area be partisan?

    I can’t believe you are from this part of the world and you have to ask that question.

  • Mc Slaggart

    CS
    “I can’t believe you are from this part of the world and you have to ask that question.”

    Any area in a city just made up of people and houses. No area is in and off itself “partisan”.

    An area “may have things in it that would be of putting to other people and that could/should be addressed.”

    I have been all over Ireland and I have found no place that I did not like the people who lived their and they wanted to get on with their lives like everyone else.

    What part of Belfast are you scared to go into?

  • between the bridges

    McS believes no areas to be partisan, however under used OO halls should not be tempting locals to attack their local OO hall in 75% CNR areas…Re topic Martin out lovely dosh in ( and a shiny new seat to stand and occasionally bounce in front of for moi)…

  • FTM

    Actually I didn’t “put it”. Check above.

    If people are interested, they will check.
    You said it.
    I am working-class and all my life I have lived in w/c areas and simply labeling an area w/c does not necessarily make it a “hovel“

    hich is correct. I don’t see you suggesting anything to the contrary? Strange…

    For somebody who has never attended a NI match how could I prove it?
    Read what I said
    I am 2/3 not PUL, yet I feel comfortable attending NI games. Think about it.
    As a matter of interest, how many NI games have you personally attended?
    It’s all about moving outside the comfort-zone….
    Are you capable of that?

    ctually it is the removal from articles of association relating those points relating to the necessity of those seeking election to senior positions being approved by an Independent Commission . DCAL said “The election of officers within the IFA is a democratic process and purely a matter for the IFA.” Hence not Martin, but the removal of the articles themselves that allowed for an individual like Martins election. So corrected again.”

    I will try to be polite here.
    So….. DCAL’s problem is not the selection of Windsor as a national stadiium>???

    “However it was the IFA who changed their articles of association to accommodate Martin. Martins election to IFA deputy president was done within the confines of the IFA. I didn’t get a vote, did you? Corrected again’”

    OK…let’s, once again, take this slowly;
    Who voted for Martin? Linfield? The IFA? The rampant and sectarian NI supporter base?
    (I am getting a very strong deja-vu sensation here)

    Hmmm, if you put your thinking cap on I think you will find we are, more or less, in agreement there. But that wasn’t the point I was making was it? Sit back, pour yourself some thinking juice and have a little pause. What have I said?

    Since I have taken the time to address your concerns perhaps you could indulge me by explaining to me why Windsor is the “best” deal for NI football in all its facets?”

    I don’t necessarily think it is the best solution for NI football.
    But… are you really wanting the best solution for NI football?
    I know what mine is, what’s your motivation?
    Point scoring?

  • between the bridges

    oneill i am a founder member of the local NISC but the ‘rampant and sectarian NI supporter base’ sound much more fun where does one apply?

  • Am Ghobsmacht
  • FDM

    oneill 14 September 2013 at 10:03 pm

    “If people are interested, they will check.
    You said it.”

    Actually it was Am Ghobsmacht who said it at 12 September 2013 at 11:53 am.

    You may apologise for that any time you like, since you have made the same false allegation twice now.

    “I am working-class and all my life I have lived in w/c areas and simply labeling an area w/c does not necessarily make it a “hovel””

    This kind of rambling is why you really need to take just a little care to actually make sure that the person you are haranguing for a statement actually made that statement. Again you may apologise anytime you like.

    “For somebody who has never attended a NI match how could I prove it?”

    Another assumption which is incorrect. Actually I did attend NI vs Yugoslavia at Windsor Park a long, long time ago. Norman Whiteside played in the game. It was a truly awful experience. It put beyond doubt any want to have anything to do with the team ever again.

    “As a matter of interest, how many NI games have you personally attended?”

    3 games in total.

    “It’s all about moving outside the comfort-zone….
    Are you capable of that?” See above.

    “Who voted for Martin?”

    Martin was voted deputy president of the IFA by members of the IFA, which includes Linfield Management committee members, i.e. Jack Grundie. Other positions Martin holds are irrelevant. It is his being elected to the IFA deputy president position in an IFA vote, taken by IFA members only is what is of interest to DCAL and the rest of us who care.

    “I know what mine is, what’s your motivation?”

    The decision to house at Windsor Park has two major outworkings. Firstly those that relate to international football. Secondly the sponsorship of Linfield FC by the IFA and the massively detrimental effect it has on the competitiveness and fairness of the Irish League.

    My major interest is in the latter. Domestic football. One of the major issues here is that the majority of the NI support and certainly the upper echelons of the IFA don’t give a monkeys about domestic football. The Windsor Park refurbishment and the financial underpinning of Linfield over the next 40+ years by the IFA will kill [and is killing] Irish League football. In the long term this will kill the IFA’s team as well.

  • Comrade Stalin

    McSlaggart,

    Any area in a city just made up of people and houses. No area is in and off itself “partisan”.

    An area “may have things in it that would be of putting to other people and that could/should be addressed.”

    Congratulations. You contradicted yourself two sentences apart.

    Didn’t you see on the news what happened when Cliftonville tried to play a football match at Crusaders some months ago ?

    The problem of neighbourhoods being divided into ghettos along sectarian lines is at the core of what the troubles were about.

  • Mc Slaggart

    between the bridges

    “under used OO halls should not be tempting locals to attack their local OO hall in 75% CNR areas…”

    I think the OO need to address the issue of having halls were the have virtually no local people using them. These halls are empty most of the time and steps need to be taken by the OO.

    For example Schools have taken steps to address the same issue of them being empty most of the summer.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Comrade Stalin

    “The problem of neighbourhoods being divided into ghettos along sectarian lines is at the core of what the troubles were about.”

    Nope.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Comrade Stalin

    “Didn’t you see on the news what happened when Cliftonville tried to play a football match at Crusaders some months ago ?”

    I thought they had regular matches each year? If these teams cannot play each other due to the nature of Belfast how do they come up with the match results?

  • Barnshee

    “I think the OO need to address the issue of having halls were the have virtually no local people using them. These halls are empty most of the time and steps need to be taken by the OO”

    Indeed they might like to publish the reasons .they “have virtually no local people using them”

    Where did they go?

  • Seamuscamp

    Much of the banter above is off topic. The evident and historic prejudices of the IFA are not central to the decision to suspend the grants. The reason for the action was the IFA’s decision to remove competency tests so that someone who failed the tests could be appointed to an important position and be in line for further promotion. Why were the tests introduced? Because the individual in question had been party to the waste of a large sum of money.

    The IFA must have realised that its action would generate a reaction. Was it stupidity or something more sinister that caused them to so act?

  • FDM

    “Actually it was Am Ghobsmacht who said it at 12 September 2013 at 11:53 am.”

    Yes, it was. Apologies.

    “Actually I did attend NI vs Yugoslavia at Windsor Park a long, long time ago. Norman Whiteside played in the game. It was a truly awful experience. It put beyond doubt any want to have anything to do with the team ever again”

    25 years ago?
    Really? That was the last time you went?
    One or two things have changed in wider NI society since then; there is the possibility that a NI home game in 2013, may be different from a NI home game in the late 80s.
    But if that’s the experience you are comfortable to stick with, then that’s up to you.

  • Alan N/Ards

    FDM
    I agree with you that the deal between the IFA and Linfield is bad for Irish League football. Of that there is no doubt. You have a good case to argue so don’t be spoiling it by dipping into the anti Northern Ireland rhetoric.There really is no need.

    My own thoughts are that the IFA should follow the route of the FAI (who use the home of Irish rugby for games) and do a deal with Ulster rugby for international games. This stadium would be ideal as it has the capacity NI needs.

    Many NI fans (like myself) who also attend Ulster games at Ravenhill and have dual sporting allegiances would welcome it. As Ulster have recieved substancial amount of tax payers money they could hardly refuse (nor should they).