FIFA says 'no' to Agreement…


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..?

  • Miss Fitz

    Gonzo
    You make it sound so simple…..

  • fair_deal2005

    If FIFA’s defence is accurate i have one question. How can FIFA officials tell from a British passport which home nation a NI, Scotland, England and Wales player is entitled to play for?

  • kensei

    It says on it.

    World’s stupidiest issue. If you are going to play for a British team, don’t be surpised if they ask you for a British passport. If you find that compromises your principles, what the hell are you doing playing for that team in the first place? You are blocking someone who does care, for a start.

  • Patilla

    This is from the IFA site:
    “The mere fact that a person may be holding an Irish Republic passport, FIFA has ruled, does not provide conclusive evidence for a match commissioner to know that a player is entitled to represent Northern Ireland. An Irish Republic passport of a player born in Northern Ireland and entitled to Irish and British citizenship in accordance with article 1 paragraph V1 and in connection with the Good Friday Agreement annex 2, does not specify that this person has a birthright to hold British citizenship. Similarly, a player with a British passport seeking to play for the Irish Republic will not be able to demonstrate through this official document that his birthright also entitles him to play for the Republic of Ireland. FIFA have explained further that it is not realistic to expect a match commissioner to determine whether a player fulfils the requirements set out in Article 1 paragraph V1 of the Good Friday Agreement on the basis of information displayed on the passport, namely whether the player was born in the territory ofNorthern Ireland and whether at least one of his/her parents was entitled to reside in Northern Ireland.”

    “An Irish Republic passport of a player born in Northern Ireland”

    The birthplace is the crucial point surely?

  • kensei

    “The birthplace is the crucial point surely?”

    Not really, no. I could be born in England to Irish parents. Though on my Irsish passport it clearly has “Place of Birth: Antrim”, so if it is, then it is a bloody stupid argument.

  • trojan

    If players want to play for n.i then they have to accept that they are playing for a british team.

    Some young nationalist players from the north have decided not to take this option of playing for n.i and this can be seen in the increasing numbers of young pro’s from the north playing at all the underage levels in the Irish set up.

    It boils down to a players individual choice, if a nationalist player is happy to stand to the british national anthem and is happy to be represented by the flag of the former stormont regime, thats up to them.

  • Anonymous

    As far as FIFA is concerned, theyve made their decision, at least for the time beeing.
    I wont have anything to do with the prats.
    As everyone in the world will be talking about the World Cup, they wont be talking about it much in my company. I will talk about FIFA,s policy towards nornirn Nationalists and Republicans, which is discriminatory.
    Racism springs to mind, but at who,s behest?
    This isnt a conspiracy theory, we allways knew those bastards could be bought. Who bought them and why?
    Best regards from Rory

  • Anonymous

    But a British passport doesn’t mean they are eligible for NI. An Englishman born in england of English parents etc. can’t play for NI so the the British passport proves nothing! How hard would it be for Fifa to approve the credentials of every Irish player in the squad list submitted several days before every match….

  • Patilla

    “Some young nationalist players from the north have decided not to take this option of playing for n.i and this can be seen in the increasing numbers of young pro’s from the north playing at all the underage levels in the Irish set up.”

    They won’t be able to for much longer Trojan. There is a new FIFA regulation re nationality

    FIFA, have said that a player will only be able to play for particular country if:

    a) the player was born on the territory of the relevant Association;
    b) his biological mother or biological father was born on the territory of the relevant Association;
    c) his grandmother or grandfather was born on the territory of the relevant Association;
    d) he has lived continuously for at least two years on the territory of the relevant Association. “

    The important phrase there is “territory of relevant Association”, i.e. not the “country” or “nation”, which obviously in an Irish context could be seen as being the full 32 counties.

    In practical terms, most of the nationalists who could in theory play for the Republic will no longer have that choice in the future. It’ll be Norn Iron or nothin’.

  • trojan

    patilla

    The fifa regulation in question has been in place for quite a while and has not stopped young Derry goalkeeper Eugene Ferry making his debut for SeanMcCaffrey’s Ireland u19’s in a tournament in February this year (long after the regulation was introduced)

    ‘Territory of the association’ – Does this mean the fai can claim Derry as being within their remit, as DC play in the EL.??

    The legislation has never been used in Ireland due to the unusual situation on the island.

  • joeCanuck

    If the conditions as written by Patilla are complete, I can’t see this ruling standing up to a court challenge ( although not sure who would go to court). there is no mention of a requirement to hold a passport; just that you meet the conditions and there are many ways to demonstrate that.

  • joeCanuck

    A fairly simple way to resolve this, and and other similar issues, is for the local association to declare that their list of players meet the requirements. This would be open to a challenge from other associations, and, if the particular association is found to have “lied”, then sanctions would be applied .

  • Patilla

    Trojan
    “The fifa regulation in question has been in place for quite a while”

    Well, actually no, it was first mentioned in 2004 but has been in effective operation for just over a year.
    http://www.fifa.com/en/media/index/0,1369,74563,00.html

    “not stopped young Derry goalkeeper Eugene Ferry making his debut for SeanMcCaffrey’s Ireland u19’s”

    Yes, he’s an interesting case, especially with him he playing for NI’s under 18s a few years back. Obviously a young man with a bit of an identity problem;) But I believe he was registered by the ROI in 2004 (ie prior to this regulation)?

    ‘Territory of the association’ – Does this mean the fai can claim Derry as being within their remit, as DC play in the EL.??”

    Good point. Although, I seem to remember that it was UEFA and not FIFA gave dispensation for Derry to play in the Eire league. Two completely different sets of rules on many things.

    “The legislation has never been used in Ireland due to the unusual situation on the island.”

    I’d think probably the IFA, who would have most to gain if it is enforced in our own little peculiar corner of the world, simply haven’t got their act together yet( huh! now there’s a surprise!) or have decided it’s not worth the political and PR ramifications of enforcing it.
    They may also have felt that, with the exception of Darren Gibson, probably the quality of the players that the ROI have taken haven’t been worth getting into too much of a row about anyway.

    But there is no reason why FIFA would make an exception here and not in other parts of the world if they’ve refused to do so on the passport issue.

  • kensei

    “The important phrase there is “territory of relevant Association”, i.e. not the “country” or “nation”, which obviously in an Irish context could be seen as being the full 32 counties.

    In practical terms, most of the nationalists who could in theory play for the Republic will no longer have that choice in the future. It’ll be Norn Iron or nothin’.”

    They can say these things, but there is no way they could stand up in the European Court, and despite this story, FIFA won’t stir up this hornet’s nest.

  • beano

    “They can say these things, but there is no way they could stand up in the European Court,”
    I’d be very surprised if this could be challenged in any court.

  • kensei

    “I’d be very surprised if this could be challenged in any court.”

    Human Rights. I’d be very surprised if there isn’t a lawyer, somewhere, who couldn’t make a case out of it!