FIFA’s resistance to allowing Northern Ireland players to carry an Irish passport is causing ructions. FIFA says players for the team MUST use a British passport in order to prove their national credentials to match commissioners, despite what the Agreement says about nationality in Northern Ireland.
It sounds a bit odd to have the SDLP, Sinn Fein and the Irish Government standing up for the right of Irishmen to play for… a team whose ‘state’ they are fundamentally opposed to. In fact, this may be the first time Sinn Fein has suggested that it is the ‘human right’ of Irish people to play for the ‘sectarian statelet’!
But couldn’t this be solved so easily? If the purpose of players producing a passport is simply to provide hard evidence to a match official that he is entitled to play for his country, then other evidence could probably suffice.
If players can convince FIFA they are legit beforehand, couldn’t FIFA just issue them with official FIFA ‘permits’ or ID cards at that point which would be acceptable around the world when it comes to footballing red tape?
Or is there more to it than that..?