FIFA suggests “amicable solution which is acceptable for both member associations”

FIFA certainly seem to have been doing some brainstorming in an effort to get out of the pickle being caused by the ongoing controversy about the eligibility of footballers in Ireland.

Football’s ruling body has just informed Slugger that they have put forward a proposal (reproduced in full below the fold) that means someone born in Cork could play for Northern Ireland while someone born in Belfast could play for the Republic of Ireland. Now all that remains to be seen is if the FAI and IFA are amenable to the suggestion.

I wonder what the fans will think when they read this in tomorrow’s newspapers?The FIFA Legal Committee discussed the matter of the eligibility to play for the Irish Football Association and the Football Association of Ireland at its meeting on 28 October 2007 and sent the following clarification:

“The current situation is such that, for the Irish Football Association, players can choose also to play for the representative teams of the Football Association of Ireland but the vice-versa is not possible.

With the objective, as always, to find an amicable solution which is acceptable for both member associations concerned as well as for FIFA, the FIFA Legal Committee has now made the following new proposal: any player holding the nationality of the Republic of Ireland and consequently, in principle, being eligible to play for the representative teams of the Football Association of Ireland, that was born on the territory of the Republic of Ireland, would, by agreement between the two associations, also be eligible for the representative teams of the Irish Football Association.

In other words, every player born on the territory of Northern Ireland, holding the UK nationality and being entitled to a passport of the Republic of Ireland or born on the territory of the Republic of Ireland and holding the Irish nationality could either play for the Football Association of Ireland or the Irish Football Association, under the condition that all other relevant prerequisites pertaining to a player’s eligibility for a specific association team (see FIFA Statutes – Art. 15 of the Regulations governing the FIFA Statutes are fulfilled.

FIFA has informed the Irish Football Association and the Football Association of Ireland today (November 6) about this proposal and asked both associations for a feedback.

Ultimately, it will be up to the FIFA Executive Committee to take a decision.”

I have to say that I for one did not see this one coming.

  • austin

    I believe that Wells (Howard, not Jim) will be meeting Sinn Fein soon? Is he hoping to persuade the Shinners around to his way of thinking?
    If he is, he’s a bigger fecking eejit than I thought.

  • the dowie

    “given the IFA’s approach to this issue however I ‘ve now turned my back on them for good”

    And your back was facing what way before?

  • Diomedes

    Howard Wells was on the sports section of BBC Newsline. In the interview he confired that the IFA arguement was based on circular 901.

  • Bemused

    given the IFA’s approach to this issue however I ‘ve now turned my back on them for good”

    And your back was facing what way before?

    Posted by the dowie on Nov 07, 2007 @ 08:18 PM

    Over the course of the last three or four years I had adopted a wholly benign attitude to them – your point? (other than belching out a piece of smug yellow pack wit…..)

  • Stephen_patt

    First time poster on the site having read it for over a year. I believe myself to have quite moderate views with regards to politics here.
    However I would like to know what it is nationalists/republicans would like from N.Ireland supporters and the IFA. Every time N.Ireland football is mentioned the same people come on here and make comments about sectarianism at games, bigoted organisation, flags and the national anthem. They say all this needs to change for them to support the team. Now I for one am against all things bigoted so I now find it strange that their answer to all solutions is a football team along bigoted lines. One for Catholics and one for Protestants. I thought the whole point of the GFA and the new assembly was a new shared future between both communities however from living away from home (last 6 yrs) all I can see is the gap widening. Why is that once we get the so called shared future that people are trying to force the two sides apart.
    I read people on here mentioning the flag and anthem issue with regards to young nationalists. I for one would like both these to be changed so we could have our own identity similar to what Scotland or Wales have done. I hope and have a feeling these will change in the very near future. However posters on here tell us that these need to change for them to support N.Ireland but then on other occasions say that they could never bring themselves to support N.Ireland or couldnt care less about how the team does. In my opinion it is the fans who should bring about the change in the flag and anthem, but what is difficult to swallow is that the people who ak us to change them would not change their bigoted views and support us even if we did what THEY asked. We want a more inclusive support just like our inclusive team but it seems people are not happy with that and want to, as I said before two teams for different religions (or political viewpoints).
    With regards to sectarianism etc there have been many problems in the past but with FFA things are changing. It is a totally different atmosphere at games now than it used to be with no sectarian chanting at all. The people who say there is dont even attend so were are they getting their info. I am sure that on occasions things have happened or been sang outside games but this is not the fault of the IFA or real supporters and is a society problem. The same things have happened outside ROI games in the past. As I said sectarianism is a society problem and having lived in Glasgow for years and heard many chants about “F**k the pope” etc and pro IRA songs it is not only a problem Ireland has both North and South. The IFA are only trying to keep their team from not becoming a “one side of the community” team.
    Republicans tell us they want a United Ireland, however to get there they seem to think that alienating Unionists is the way to go. Come join us in our new Ireland with the Tricolor, the soldiers song etc but god forbid we change anything for you lot (Unionists) but they are the one telling N.Ireland fans what to do with regards to all “their” problems.

    Sometimes in this country people need to have a reality check. There are two communities and as usual they are both drifting further apart. Shared future what a joke!!!!!!!!!!

  • qubol

    Stephen Patt: “I would like to know what it is nationalists/republicans would like from N.Ireland supporters and the IFA

    I’m sure I can speak for a lot of Nationalists when I say that the IFA can do what they want, I couldn’t care less (maybe a bit if they’re wasting my tax money). Most Nationalists support the Republic not out of a sense of alienation but because that’s our team. There is no way round that, no initiative that might change that.
    If we’re talking about shared futures, fine. Let’s have a shared future, it makes sense. The thing is I want a shared future with all of Ireland, Unionists included – thats the *real* shared future for nationalism.

  • wesley

    qubol

    well said, you can speak for me & it would reflect the opinions of the vast majority of Nationalists.

    Its not about anthems or flags, it will never be our team.

  • kensei

    Stephen

    I want Northern Ireland to cease to be and unite with the rest of the island in an independent state. The IFA would cease to be (along with the FAI) and a new All Ireland football association would come into force.

    Now, given that is going to take a 50%+1 vote in a referendum, it’s not going to happen any time soon. So, given that, I want my nationality recognised and respected. I want Irish citizenship equal to the citizenship those in the South get, and I want my identity respected by everyone in the North. I want other things too, but in IFA terms, that means respecting the decision to play for the Republic football team as a valid expression of my nationality, and I most certainly don’t want them dictating to me and trying to remove that choice on a technicality.

    We are stuck with a Shared Future whether we like it or not. We all live here and neither side is going anywhere. You are confusing it with a Shared Identity. Nationalism signed up to the GFA to protect their interests, ensure that in day to day matters they get a say, and to have a platform to argue for what they really want – a United Ireland. We’re not particularly interested in copper fastening partition or pulling closer to Unionism by moving away from Southern Nationalism. Apparently the idea that Nationalists and Republicans want a United Ireland is a shock to some Unionists.

    The good thing is – the Assembly and the provisions of the GFA also allow you to make the argument for the type of arrangement you want to see. Or the Alliance, or anyone else. Both sides contain a spectrum of opinion. So if you wind up with a United Ireland and you don’t want it, tough. You didn’t make your case well enough he democratic system chose something else. Similarly, if the IFA ends up with only Protestant players and a Unionist team that’s their fault and not mine. It isn’t automatic that all Nationalist players will go South, most at the moment don’t, and it is perfectly possible for the IFA to do a good job and pull in a lot of Nationalist support (North and South)and sympathy for NI. They aren’t doing it.

    Also, don’t make the argument that if Nationalism signed up wholehearted to the “Our Wee Country” nonsense, you’d have any interest in a United Ireland. It’s dishonest. You’d merely say, ach sure, isn’t going so well as it as, and sure you like it anyway.

  • June 76

    Kensei,

    Well said. I am constantly amazed that Unionists genuinely appear to believe that there is some sort of an onus on Nationalists to give their support to trying to make the political concept of Northern Ireland work. Nationalists are…well nationalist, and the sooner Northern Ireland ceases to exist the better.

  • Billy

    Kensei

    Well said.

    I think you reflect the views of a vast majority of the Nationalist community.

  • páid

    Well he doesn’t speak for me.

    Playing GSTQ and waving the Union Jack never persuaded one Nationalist to follow Unionism, and, by the same token, playing the Soldiers’ Song and waving the tricolour and saying yah boo It’s all over folks won’t get a UI country or soccer team.

    The comments of some Nationalists on this thread are shaming and disgraceful. If they are a harbinger of what Unionists might expect in a political UI, I wouldn’t blame them for fighting tooth and nail to avoid it.

    David Trimble admitted NI was a cold house for Catholics. Windsor Park certainly was.

    But certain folk will make it seem like a cosy log cabin compared to the Delaney’s Donkey Oireland team they’re so keen to push.

    Agus, ní troll atá ionamsa, ach duine a bhfuil meas aige ar leithéide Willowfield atá réasúnta i gcónaí ar an suíomh seo.

  • “I fully respect the wishes of O’Connor and Kane to declare for NI-Why can’t NI fans reciprocare and accept with grace the choices made by Gibson and Marc Wilson?”

    You respect players born in Northern Ireland “deciding” to “declare” for Northern Ireland? How bloody gracious of you. I fully respect the right of Shay Given to declare for the Republic of Ireland – consider your respect reciprocated.

  • Billy

    páid

    Personally, I’m not interested in making Ireland a “cold house” for anyone.

    I have nothing against the NI team per se – good luck to them. In football terms, they are of no more interest to me than England, Germany, Argentina etc.

    Like Kensei, I fully respect the right of anyone from the North (regardless of their religion/politics) to choose to represent NI if they so wish.

    My annoyance is simply aimed at the IFA who want to deny anyone from the North their right to declare for the RoI (although they are clearly granted the right to Irish citizenship from birth) via the GFA.

    It’s simply unjust. BTW, I fully support FIFA’s attempt at compromise by allowing a reciprocal agreement. They are not legally bound to do so but I think it’s only fair.

    Incidentally, the following quote which was posted on the “Our Wee Country” website earlier today may educate you as to the mindset that still exists among some NI “fans”.

    “At least if our team is comprised mainly of unionists we can go back to not hiding our Britishness by bringing union flags and bringing back the songs that represent us”

  • qubol

    Páid: “The comments of some Nationalists on this thread are shaming and disgraceful.”

    What’s the problem Páid? I’m certainly not advocating shoving Irish Patriotism down the throats of Unionists. I just want to support my team, that’s all. I don’t support the northern Ireland team and certainly don’t feel that I should.

  • kensei

    “Well he doesn’t speak for me.”

    Only ever claimed to state things as I see it. Can and have been proved wrong.

    “Playing GSTQ and waving the Union Jack never persuaded one Nationalist to follow Unionism, and, by the same token, playing the Soldiers’ Song and waving the tricolour and saying yah boo It’s all over folks won’t get a UI country or soccer team.”

    No, it won’t and I never claimed it would be. In the event of a United Ireland, there would need to be a new flag, anthem and constitution. But I like the Tricolour, the Soldier’s Song and the Republic football team. It isn’t sectarian to say they are my flag, anthem and team. It isn’t sectarian to say that my citizenship is as good as someone’s in Cork’s and I should be entitled to play for the Republic in absence of a 32 country team.

    No progress will be made while people want to dictate to other people who they are, and progress in any direction can only be made when you know where you starting from. If a United Ireland happened tomorrow, I don’t believe Unionists should be told they aren’t British, and I believe if they have the passport they should be able to qualify for one of the other British teams of their choice if they like. Building an overarching and unified Irish identity would be a long term goal and wouldn’t happen overnight.

    “The comments of some Nationalists on this thread are shaming and disgraceful. If they are a harbinger of what Unionists might expect in a political UI, I wouldn’t blame them for fighting tooth and nail to avoid it.”

    And if the comments of the last thread were representative of Unionism it would be 1952. This goes beyond politics and down to deeper notions of identity, which is why it stirs up some annoyance on both sides.

    “David Trimble admitted NI was a cold house for Catholics. Windsor Park certainly was.

    But certain folk will make it seem like a cosy log cabin compared to the Delaney’s Donkey Oireland team they’re so keen to push.”

    So tell me, what people are saying that qualifies it as an “Delaney’s Donkey Oireland team”, bearing in mind it is only supposed to represent the current Irish state. The Tricolour? The Soldier’s Song? What?

    “Agus, ní troll atá ionamsa, ach duine a bhfuil meas aige ar leithéide Willowfield atá réasúnta i gcónaí ar an suíomh seo. ”

    You’ll have to forgive me, because my Irish is atrocious these days. Something like you’re not trying to troll but a person like Willow is a moderate poster on this site?

    beano

    “You respect players born in Northern Ireland “deciding” to “declare” for Northern Ireland?”

    Until FIFA says otherwise they are perfectly entitled to select the Republic, so it’s perfectly sensible thing to say.

  • sammaguire

    “Having two teams representing the same territory is a farcical arrangement, and FIFA would need to think this through very carefully before setting a precedent where every ethnic grouping within any territory will have a case for competing independently.”

    As eloquent an indictment of partition as you’ll ever hear!

    Posted by Billy Pilgrim on Nov 07, 2007 @ 05:26 PM

    Well said Billy. Difficult to beat that comment for irony!

    What I can’t understand about NI supporters/unionists is that they would have no problem apparently having a Catholic on their team from say Fermanagh (how open minded of them!!) but would have a serious problem with a Catholic from over the ditch in Cavan being on their team. A bit hypothetical of course as most Cavan people prefer the beautiful game and the county has 39 Ulster titles to prove it!

  • Sam

    FIFA seem to have [deliberately?] misconstrued the IFA’s objection, offering them what they thought would be ‘parity of esteem’ when they wanted a monopoly on northern-born players, excluding Irish players with Irish citizenship the facility to play for the FAI’s Republic of Ireland team.
    In fact FIFA appear to have offered them a more favourable position, in that they could select southern born players based on Irish citizenship, rather than requiring them to hold British citizenship.
    That could offer an alternative to FIFA’s proposal and a balanced solution. The identity of each association is retained, without the duplication that could arise under FIFA’s proposal. The IFA’s status as one of the four British [‘Home’] Associations (which have long been anomalous associations within FIFA) would be retained. The FAI’s Irish team and the affiliations of Irish players born in the north (and any British players born in the south) would be facilitated.
    Would that suit everybody better?

  • Erasmus

    Paid,
    Ní aontaím leat go bhfuil ‘mo naire thú’ Willowfield ina fhear reasúnta.
    BTW will someone please explain what GAWA stands for.

  • Billy

    Erasmus

    Green and White Army

  • Chekov

    “Newsflash, numbnuts: Nationalists want a United Ireland. It’s why they are, er, nationalists. As for making NI “work”, everyone has signed up to 50%+1 and no one wants to live in a shithole. That doesn’t mean we have to love the symbols, institutions and “Our wee country” bollocks. We’d happily end all that tomorrow, and continually vote for parties that promise it.

    My Irish is the one that the Southern state happens to embody: Tricolour, Soldiers Song, republican, independent. Northern institutions can be Irish, but they are rarely any of those things or any of the other things I consider important.”

    Precisely. Your Irishness is nasty, exclusivist, prescriptive nationalism. The IFA should not even be considering the sensibilities of the likes of you when they continue to pursue this issue.

  • nuttal

    BP,

    “As eloquent an indictment of partition as you’ll ever hear!”

    Now who was it again that broke away from who?

    This FIFA proposal would copperfasten an ethnic partition for the conceivable future.

    You might like to bandy about your condescending bullshit about how it will evolve into effectively an A and a B team which everyone will be able to support. But i think we can all see that for the most definite bullshit that it is. As a business, international football is mostly about the fans, and the ensuing problems are again about the fans.

    With the FIFA proposal, the fans aren’t gonna choose to support both the “A team” and the “B team”. The loyalties will divide sharply between IFA and FAI, even more so than presently, if that were possible. Maybe the IFA and FAI might decide that they all get along and want to unite, but the fans aren’t going to like it. It would be like Liverpool and Everton deciding they were going to merge.

    The only hope under the current proposals would be for the two associations to come to a “gentleman’s” agreement, where they agree to respect each others geographical territories akin to the arrangement within the UK. But from what i’ve seen I’ve seen no reason to believe that the FAI in their current state of decline would respect any such agreement.

  • nuttal

    Chekov,

    Apparently their nationalism is all inclusive of colour, creed, race, gender sexuality etc etc. Oh, as long as you’re not “Orange-Irish”

  • Charlie

    In my idealistic youth as a (lapsed) Presbyterian Nationalist trying to rediscover the spirit of Henry Joy McCracken and 1798, I felt emboldened by the ‘fact’ that Unionists were so much more bigoted, blinkered and infuriatingly stubborn than my imagined Republican brethren…every time the debate on Irish footballing allegiances gets going on Slugger, I realise what a deluded, naïve young fool I was… “unite Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter under the common name of Irishmen”…aye, as long as you don’t have the audacity to support your fellow countrymen in the Northern Irish football team or dare to have too strong an affinity to your native province of Ulster to the detriment of ‘Mother Ireland’…

  • Newbie

    Nuttal why should the FAI agree to a gentlemans agreement when even FIFA have suggested that northern players have a right to play for the republic its time the likes of you get use to it LET IT GO

  • kensei

    “Precisely. Your Irishness is nasty, exclusivist, prescriptive nationalism. The IFA should not even be considering the sensibilities of the likes of you when they continue to pursue this issue.”

    Let me get this right. Simply by being republican and being represented by the Tricolour and the Soldier’s Song that makes it “nasty, exclusivist and prescriptive”? Aside from covering 85% of the population on the island, that’s just mindless ranting.

    nuttal

    “Apparently their nationalism is all inclusive of colour, creed, race, gender sexuality etc etc. Oh, as long as you’re not “Orange-Irish””

    Are there two traditions on this island? Yes.
    Do I therefore slight Unionism when I talk about my own tradition on its own? No.
    Are am I being sectarian by being generally proud of that tradition? No.
    Do some Unionists get pissed off if they are claimed as part of my tradition? Yes.

    So I can’t win, of course, no matter what I say. It is my desire to a unified Irish identity to go with a unified Irish state. But in order to get there, I have to first recognise that identity is nascent in places at best, and that my Irishness and that embodied by the Southern state doesn’t cover it at the moment. I am sure you are proud of your identity and traditions. Unless you recognise I am also proud of mine and start from a position of respect then neither of us will get anywhere.

  • gram

    Following this ruling the IFA needs to respond by dopping the “barriers to entry” for Nationalists. I think that a new anthem and flag in tandem with hopefully a new stadium in a neutral area would be reciprocated in kind by a much more positive attidude from Nationalists towards the team.

    I know many nationalists, myself included, who were more than happy to cheer on NI, Jennings, O’Neill etc in the 80s when the ROI were rubbish. Many however would never have thought about attending games.

    In short I think there is potential for the IFA to grow it’s nationalist fan base and regain some of the initiative lost by the Fifa ruling.

  • Briso

    Can I just summarise the IFA’s achievements?

    1) Gaining confirmation that Irish Citizens can play for the FAI’s International team, ‘the current situation’.

    2) Pissing off lots of northern nationalists, some of whom were becoming more neutral (or in my case positive) towards the IFA international team.

    3) Humiliating themselves by prematurely mouthing off about their tremendous victory before it was exposed as wishful thinking.

    4) Raising the spectre of the IFA’s team becoming an all-Ireland team for which all Irish passport holders but not all British passport holders are eligible, rather than purely a 6-county British team.

    5) Pissing off a significant portion of their own support when they realise that fact.

    G&T’s all round!

  • nuttal

    Kensei,

    “Are there two traditions on this island? Yes.”

    Er, maybe two major traditions maybe.

    What this FIFA proposal is doing will be to label EVERYONE as “us” or “them”. You will be either a unionist or nationalist. Personally, I find this attitude offensive in this day and age.

    I’ll put this scenario to you. A foreign national, lets say chinese, immigrates to say Belfast. Who would you suggest they and their future children support?

    a) the FAI team with associated symbols representing a specific ethnicity.

    b) an IFA team with all it’s associated symbols etc

    c) support china

    This FIFA proposal will do nothing but permanently enshrine polarization of the whole footballing support. I’m guessing you subscribe to the “seperate equality” rather than the “shared future” school of thought, but personally I find these ethno-nationalist attitudes disgusting and belonging of a different era.

    What I would like to see is a pluralistic, shared society, rather than a permanently divided one.

  • Nuttall, I couldn’t agree with you more.

  • nuttal

    …kensei

    and further

    Which is MORE important/appealing to you,

    a) a united ireland, with symbols representing all the people of ireland

    b) the enshrinement of your right to identify with a specific exclusive ethnic nationality

    Because i dont think it’s possible to have both

  • kensei

    “Er, maybe two major traditions maybe.”

    Don’t be a pedant, you know what I meant.

    “What this FIFA proposal is doing will be to label EVERYONE as “us” or “them”. You will be either a unionist or nationalist. Personally, I find this attitude offensive in this day and age.”

    Nope, it doesn’t. It merely allows Northern born Irish citizens to play for the Republic of Ireland football team. And actually, this particular proposal breaks down North-South barriers by allowing any Irish citizen to play for the North.

    If NI denigrates into a Prod only team, that would be entirely the fault of the IFA. Spectrum of opinion exists, most Nationalist footballers will be caught initially in the IFA system, many footballers will be more concerned about their career and supporting NI doesn’t mean you can’t also support the Republic.

    “I’ll put this scenario to you. A foreign national, lets say chinese, immigrates to say Belfast. Who would you suggest they and their future children support?”

    a) the FAI team with associated symbols representing a specific ethnicity.

    b) an IFA team with all it’s associated symbols etc

    c) support china”

    I would suggest they support the team they feel best represents them – be it the Republic, the North, China or a combination of all three. I lay no requirements and no cricket tests at their door. Why the hell would I?

    “This FIFA proposal will do nothing but permanently enshrine polarization of the whole footballing support. I’m guessing you subscribe to the “seperate equality” rather than the “shared future” school of thought, but personally I find these ethno-nationalist attitudes disgusting and belonging of a different era.”

    The Shared Future I want to see if an All Ireland Shared Future, and not a Northern Ireland one. I don’t view it as positive to pull closer to Unionism at the expense of ties to the South. That isn’t ethno-nationalist, no matter how many times you say it.

    But I also reject the notion that it is one or t’other. We have a “Shared Future”. We all live here and that is not going to change. What will ultimately emerge is something in between. There will be a breakdown of barrier and more mixing. There’ll be Shared institutions and spaces. Some of those will cross the border. But we aren’t going to produce some kind of US style melting pot that turns everyone into the same thing, and Nationalists aren’t going to develop some rabid love for a state they still want to see ended. And in some places there will be big differences of opinion and some separation, probably. It’s ok and it wouldn’t cause problems as long as we respect each other.

    “What I would like to see is a pluralistic, shared society, rather than a permanently divided one.”

    So would I. But you want to see a particular type of pluralistic society along the lines of your political world view, different from the one most Nationalists envisage. We are under no obligation to go along with it just because you want it. You have to make the case and make it appealing.

    Coercion rarely works as a strategy for that, breeding annoyance and resentment and generally being counter productive. Whoops, look, that’s precisely what the IFA has done.

  • Dec

    This FIFA proposal will do nothing but permanently enshrine polarization of the whole footballing support. I’m guessing you subscribe to the “seperate equality” rather than the “shared future” school of thought, but personally I find these ethno-nationalist attitudes disgusting and belonging of a different era.

    What I would like to see is a pluralistic, shared society, rather than a permanently divided one.

    Nuttal

    Please spare us the sanctimonious sermonising from a supporter of an international football team, whose symbols and anthems represent 55% of the community and ignore the identity of the other 45% who then acts all bewildered when that latter section places it’s footballing allegiances elsewhere. You really couldn’t make it up.

  • kensei

    “Which is MORE important/appealing to you,

    a) a united ireland, with symbols representing all the people of ireland

    b) the enshrinement of your right to identify with a specific exclusive ethnic nationality

    Because i dont think it’s possible to have both ”

    The Irish Republic is not a ethnic state and its symbols are not ethnic symbols, no matter how much you may wish them to be.

    Those two things are not incompatible but rather intrinsically linked. In a United Ireland, people would have the right to identify with whatever group they like, ethnic or otherwise. It would eb up to the Parliament and the electorate to decide if any particular group of any kind needed special protection.

    I would expect to see Tricolours in a United Ireland, I would expect to see Stormont Flags and Union Jacks. They would not however be symbols of the state, and I would expect over time for those new symbols to become the main focus of civic Nationalism.

    You aren’t of course, suggesting anything that leads to a United Ireland or symbols shared by all. You want the creation of a Northern identity and a Southern one. I have no interest in swapping one division with another.

  • Charlie

    An emerald green shirt with a badge saying ‘Irish Football Assocation’ depicting a Celtic cross and 4 shamrocks represents a Unionist identity??!Yeah Dec, “You really couldn’t make it up.”

  • rubin

    ‘An emerald green shirt with a badge saying ‘Irish Football Assocation’ depicting a Celtic cross and 4 shamrocks represents a Unionist identity??!Yeah Dec, “You really couldn’t make it up.”’

    Probably more to do with the english anthem, stormont flags, no surrender chants,dambusters tunes, the rangers bouncey, billy boys, ulster till i die etc……..

  • kensei

    “An emerald green shirt with a badge saying ‘Irish Football Assocation’ depicting a Celtic cross and 4 shamrocks represents a Unionist identity??!Yeah Dec, “You really couldn’t make it up.” ”

    Considering it represents a state that only exists because of Unionism, plays under a Unionist flag and the British anthem, some fans bring in Union Jacks, sing “No surrender” during said anthem, use “Ulster” as a synonym for “Northern Ireland” and goes in for all the “Our wee country” rhetoric that Nationalism never really bought into, then yes, having a green shirt doesn’t make a wild lot of difference there, Charlie.

  • nuttal

    Kensei

    “I would suggest they support the team they feel best represents them”

    a wishy washy cop out. Your main argument for supporting the FAI team seems to be that you identity with it’s symbols. Shouldnt someone who doesnt identify with one of your “two traditions” have a team on a local level that they can identify with. It’s shouldnt be about the symbols. As we’ve seen here symbols tend to have a certain exclusivity about them; the soldiers song, tricolour being very good examples.

    The impression I get from you is that a substantial proportion of your identification with the ROI/FAI team is about the symbology and ethnic identification.

    And it is ethno-nationalism no matter how much you deny it or spin it.

    As I said the FIFA proposal would permanently polarize the footballing support, and by proxy, society.

    “You have to make the case and make it appealing.”
    Exactly, do you really think encouraging polarization is going to bring Irish unity a single step closer or more appealing.

    “But we aren’t going to produce some kind of US style melting pot”

    But shouldn’t that be something to aspire to. Apparently it isn’t something that you desire. Do you favour segregation?

    Different sports, different teams, different schools, different neighbourhoods, different hospitals,; where does/should it stop?

    If you had kids, how would you feel if they married a protestant?

  • nuttal

    Ah Dec it’s all about the percentages is it then? What percentage is it exactly that makes exclusive nationalistic symbols ok?

    For the record I have no time for the union jack, nor GSTQ. I find them offensive and out of place in a NI situation.

    Also, for the record I have no problems whatsoever with a United Ireland. But, whilst Northern Ireland still exist I’ll support them.

  • kensei

    “a wishy washy cop out. Your main argument for supporting the FAI team seems to be that you identity with it’s symbols. Shouldnt someone who doesnt identify with one of your “two traditions” have a team on a local level that they can identify with. It’s shouldnt be about the symbols. As we’ve seen here symbols tend to have a certain exclusivity about them; the soldiers song, tricolour being very good examples.”

    No, its the right answer. What you are trying to do is apply the “cricket test” to football. I would be supportive of whatever choice your Chinese immigrant made.

    I don’t have an argument for supporting the FAI. I am an Irish citizen and it’s representing my country.

    “The impression I get from you is that a substantial proportion of your identification with the ROI/FAI team is about the symbology and ethnic identification.”

    What makes up nations? Part of it is shared history and links and shared symbols. It isn’t the whole story, not even half of it, but both of those are important. You turn that into some “ethnonationalism” source of evil, not me.

    Unionists, of course, are simply British nationalists, so this is all kinds of ironic.

    “As I said the FIFA proposal would permanently polarize the footballing support, and by proxy, society.”

    And as I said, no you’re wrong. And its your responsibility to ensure otherwise anyway not FIFA’s.

    “Exactly, do you really think encouraging polarization is going to bring Irish unity a single step closer or more appealing.”

    We do you think that encouraging more separation from the Republic is going to make NI more appealing?

    You aren’t really listening to what I say. If you are going to do that, have a debate with a mirror, it’ll be quicker.

    “But shouldn’t that be something to aspire to. Apparently it isn’t something that you desire. Do you favour segregation?”

    Nope. It gets a bad rap these days, but I am perfectly happy with multiculturalism.

    Do I favour segregation? No, I favour an inclusive All Ireland state. Do I think we have to give up our own identities in favour of some manufactured “Northern Ireland” one because it suits Unionism? No, I do not. I think that would be a catastrophe for everyone.

    “Different sports, different teams, different schools, different neighbourhoods, different hospitals,; where does/should it stop?”

    How do you want to solve those things? You want to do it by coercion. I think that is a horrendous idea and you can only do it by persuasion and creating the right conditions.

    “If you had kids, how would you feel if they married a protestant?”

    Why would I care? Maybe they’ll marry the kids of some some of my friends. What an offensive question.

  • nuttal

    “The Irish Republic is not a ethnic state”

    Maybe not in theory, but in practice, it has been. And in the eyes of most people I would still say it is

  • nuttal

    “Do I think we have to give up our own identities in favour of some manufactured “Northern Ireland” one because it suits Unionism?”

    In what way is a Northern Ireland identity anymore manufactured than an Irish one?

  • iain

    Nuttal

    its not an ethnic identification, its a national identification. hence its called a national side! (Incidently, it is a national side, not a state side, so citizenship isn’t really the issue.) Some people from NI are irish and wish to support the ROI team. Not because of their passport or citizenship, but because they are simply Irish. why can’t you just accept that. They are not preventing you from supporting the IFA team.

    to paraphase you: As we’ve seen here symbols tend to have a certain exclusivity about them; GSTQ (no surrender), Union Jack, being very good examples.

  • nuttal

    “I think that is a horrendous idea and you can only do it by persuasion and creating the right conditions.”

    Is the creation of two teams one for each “tradition” in any way persuasion or creating the right conditions? Are you even reading what you type?

  • barneyben

    nuttal,

    In the eyes of most uneducated people most countries are “etnic states”, I would say. What’s your point?

  • Dec

    Charlie

    Thanks for further illustrating my point.

    Nuttal

    Ah Dec it’s all about the percentages is it then? What percentage is it exactly that makes exclusive nationalistic symbols ok?

    For the record I have no time for the union jack, nor GSTQ. I find them offensive and out of place in a NI situation.

    Also, for the record I have no problems whatsoever with a United Ireland. But, whilst Northern Ireland still exist I’ll support them.

    That’s fine and great. We should have no argument then. Our difference is that whilst Northern Ireland still exists, I’ll support the Republic. But that’s a personal stance and shouldn’t desist the IFA taking positive steps to attract more Nationalist support rather than the ‘You’re our property’ approach.

  • Charlie

    Nuttal…glad I’m not ploughing such a lonely furrow here…ie. can’t stand GSTQ, Stormont flags etc, however, the Sea of Green in the terraces and the Irish team colours & badge are what stands out for me when I think of the N. Ireland team…attaching Unionist baggage to the N. I. team is for the dwindling numbers of diehard Loyalists on the terraces and their embittered detractors…I think for the vast majority of fans it’s about cheering on 11 guys who were born & reared on the same small chunk of earth as ourselves…anyway, I think I’ll avoid threads of this nature from now on….just gets me depressed….

  • kensei

    “Maybe not in theory, but in practice, it has been. And in the eyes of most people I would still say it is”

    Says more about you and your world view rather than anyone else’s.

    “In what way is a Northern Ireland identity anymore manufactured than an Irish one?”

    Almost everyone here agrees they are some form of “Irish”.

    “Is the creation of two teams one for each “tradition” in any way persuasion or creating the right conditions? Are you even reading what you type?”

    Blocking people from playing for their team of choice and claiming ownership pisses off the people you are trying to convince that the IFA and NI setup has changed. A huge amount of Nationalists, a majority I’d guess, follow the Republic rather than NI. TRUFAX. Starting from a position of respect and acknowledging reality would be a necessary condition for making progress, yes.

    Charlie

    “however, the Sea of Green in the terraces and the Irish team colours & badge are what stands out for me when I think of the N. Ireland team…”

    Other people see different. Is their opinion irrelevant?

  • nuttal

    Iain,

    I’ll repeat myself

    “For the record I have no time for the union jack, nor GSTQ. I find them offensive and out of place in a NI situation.”

  • nuttal

    ” “In what way is a Northern Ireland identity anymore manufactured than an Irish one?”

    Almost everyone here agrees they are some form of “Irish”. ”

    …implying that a “Northern Irish” identity is in some way more manufactured than an “Irish” identity?

  • kensei

    “Gibson’s uncle, Paul McLaughlin, a former footballer himself and now a coach, said Fifa may have acted now because other players were ready to force the issue through the courts.”

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/northwest-edition/daily/article3140117.ece

  • The Spectator

    Nuttal

    The Northern Ireland Act says nothing about a “northern irish” identity, only British, Irish or both.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Charlie/Nuttal/Beano/GAWA generally

    Just to preface, I regard NI as my second team. My first allegiance still goes to Dublin, though there are caveats there too – I’ll save my wholehearted passion for an all-Ireland team – but I genuinely wish the NI team well and I’m heartened to hear that things at Windsor have been transformed since I was last there. (Which is more than fifteen years ago now.) I’ve been delighted, even a little proud, of their recent excellent form. The brother of one of the first-team regulars is a good friend of mine. I didn’t always wish them well in the past, but I do now, on the basis that one should always get behind the local lads.

    I’m also pretty pissed off by the IFA’s approach to this issue.

    Right, with all that preamble out of the way:

    Can some of the GAWA lads lay out a few reasons why I should support the NI team?

  • nuttal

    Iain,

    “its not an ethnic identification, its a national identification. hence its called a national side! (Incidently, it is a national side, not a state side, so citizenship isn’t really the issue.) Some people from NI are irish and wish to support the ROI team. Not because of their passport or citizenship, but because they are simply Irish. why can’t you just accept that. They are not preventing you from supporting the IFA team.”

    Iain, where is your logic man?

    under the FIFA proposals, there would be two teams representing all of Ireland.

    Yet you say “Some people from NI are irish and wish to support the ROI team.” I thought you said it’s not a state side? How then is it an ROI team?

    “Some people are irish” What do you mean? I’m irish too.

    “Not because of their passport or citizenship, but because they are simply Irish” Simply Irish?? Surely you’re kidding, what’s simple about being Irish!

    What nation then would the FAI be representing? Please don’t say “the irish nation”. What nation would IFA be representing?

    Apparently citizenship isn’t an issue? You may want to take that up with Kensei.

    So if it’s not citizenship, and it’s not representing a state, and it’s as much a “national” side as the IFA side, then what does it represent? What then would make you support the FAI team over the IFA team? What is it about it’s symbols that represent you?

    What I am saying is that all that would be left to distinguish the two sides is the symbology, in which case people are left the choice to decide- are they “orange irish” or “green irish”?

    Hardly what I would call progressive.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “I don’t view it as positive to pull closer to Unionism at the expense of ties to the South”

    kensei I salute you. In one sentence you have crystallised the core of nationalism, and demonstrated why there will never be a united ireland- at football or anywhere.Keep up the good work!

  • nuttal

    Spectator,

    So a scottish person doesnt have a scottish identity. You can piss of if you’re gonna try and tell me what my identity is or isnt

  • kensei

    “kensei I salute you. In one sentence you have crystallised the core of nationalism, and demonstrated why there will never be a united ireland- at football or anywhere.Keep up the good work!”

    Yeah, darth, because I have bought a Northern Ireland shirt and turned up at Windsor you’d be more agreeable to a United Ireland :rolleyes: I wish you wouldn’t do that, it’s just dishonest.

    The key words there darth is “at the expense of”. I hate to tell you, but in a United Ireland there would be quite a lot of Southerners too.

    nuttal

    “What nation then would the FAI be representing? Please don’t say “the irish nation”. What nation would IFA be representing?

    “Apparently citizenship isn’t an issue? You may want to take that up with Kensei.”

    Yeah he’s wrong. citizenship si the legal expression of nationality, and therefore very relevant.

    “So if it’s not citizenship, and it’s not representing a state, and it’s as much a “national” side as the IFA side, then what does it represent? What then would make you support the FAI team over the IFA team? What is it about it’s symbols that represent you?”

    The FAI represents the Irish nation, as outlined in the Irish Constitution. I have no idea who the IFA represent, perhaps you could ask them.

    As for symbols, I am a republican. The Tricolour is the flag of the Republic. What about this is hard?

    “What I am saying is that all that would be left to distinguish the two sides is the symbology, in which case people are left the choice to decide- are they “orange irish” or “green irish”?

    Hardly what I would call progressive. ”

    Or, you’d have much more traction with the argument that “they are both Irish teams” and Nationalists might like the all Ireland dimension. You’d probably pull in more Southern support to.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Can some of the GAWA lads lay out a few reasons why I should support the NI team?”

    They’re your local team . if you have the misfortune to live in Larne, Inver park ought to be your first port of call. Doesn’t mean you can’t support another team too, like AC Milan, but if they ever meet in the Champions league you should be a Harbour rat first

    They’re the only team you can play for- if you’re good enough- and that’s still the case until the 2 associations agree or FIFA imposes a compromise. Nothing has changed.

    They’re the team which your friends and neighbours of that ethnic and political identity that you claim to cherish as equally valid as your own support, and which has had many revered and idolised members of your community in past teams and hopefully future ones

    They are much more fun. As the best performing football team in international history based on population to results calculations our achievements evoke genuine pride. We haven’t tried to assassinate our manager when things have gone tits up.

    We had George Best when the secessionists had Eamon Dunphy- as Chelsea know now, you can’t buy tradition

    better badge, better shirt, better fans, better crack.. just better in fact.

  • George

    Darth,
    They’re the only team you can play for- if you’re good enough- and that’s still the case until the 2 associations agree or FIFA imposes a compromise. Nothing has changed.

    You are right in saying that nothing has changed but you are wrong in saying there is only one team. There are two. See what FIFA have described as the “current situation” in the post above.

  • Juan kerr

    Nuttal/Darth/those who are arguing in favour of the IFA’s stance on this,

    Let’s just imagine the following scenario:

    If Scotland held a referendum on independence tomorrow then (not beyond the bounds of possibility, I think it’s well accepted by now), and let’s just say for argument’s sake, that the vote was 75-80% in favour of full independence from Britain. Presumably you would argue that there should be a ‘Northern Scotland’ set up for those who wished to remain as part of the UK, and a separate football association to accomodate the ‘unionists’ of same.

    Presumably then those Unionists in ‘Northern Scotland’ who lost the referendum and decided to secede should be allowed to dictate to those who lived within its territory who democratically voted for independence and wished to show loyalty towards a new, fully independent Scotland, can only play for ‘Northern Scotland’?

    As someone arguing your point of view asked earlier on this thread, where does it all stop then? Does there have to be another breakaway state within the ‘Northern Scotland’ Territory to facilitate those who wish to display their desire to be part of the new independent Scotland? And then would they in turn have to divide up into more secessionist states, etc etc ad infinitum?

    It’s f*cking hilarious as well to see people backtracking with each turn this takes, Nuttal I see you telling someone to piss off there because you say they were telling you what your identity was, yet the pro-IFA gang were ‘eye-rolling’ there only a week or two ago trying to placate people who were saying something similar in the wake of the so-called pro-IFA ruling.

    Look I’ve said it on this site before and I’ll say it again for those who don’t understand – and you can stay here as long as you want arguing the point, I don’t really care – but FIFA will/would/could never, ever get away with trying to pass a ‘rule’ that says a bona fide citizen is not allowed to represent his country in a sporting competition, whether it be in Ireland or anywhere else.

    And trying to compare it with Brazilians getting Qatar passports is total and utter bullshit. Grow up a small bit. We all know the background to this, it ain’t pretty but it is the way it is. Stop presenting the arguments of an incalcitrant six-year-old who refuses to see the situation from anyone else’s point of view, and then claims to be suffering at the hands of everyone else’s prejudices just because things aren’t turning out the way YOU want them to.

  • Charlie

    I think part of the ‘rub’ here is that Northern prods who are fairly ambivalent about Unionism and are happy to embrace their (Northern) Irishness, see this identity as being tied up with such things as the Northern Ireland football team, icons like Joey Dunlop & George Best, Van the Man, bands like Ash & The Undertones, distinctly N. Irish banter/humour…ie. things that are ‘Irish’ yet different to the Irishness commonly associated with the Republic …when certain Nationalists show total contempt for the N. Ireland football team, it feels like a slap up the bake to such folk and is totally counterproductive when it comes to creating the unity that such Nationalists supposedly aspire to…

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Darth

    Thanks for your response. All interesting points, but I’m not sold just yet.

    I think it was Stephen who was asking earlier, “what do nationalists want the IFA to do?”

    I think the truth is that there isn’t really anything the IFA can do to attract the wholehearted support and loyalty of nationalists, short of merge with the FAI. Nationalists will never feel represented – indeed will never allow themselves to feel represented – by anything calling itself “Northern Ireland”.

    However, what they CAN do – and in my opinion should do – is everything they can to at least not be hateful to nationalists. Most nationalists, I think, inhabit a paradoxical space where, though they can’t give their loyalty to “Northern Ireland”, they can happily get behind the local lads. (Who might happen to be playing for a team called “Northern Ireland”.) This might be inconsistent and contradictory, but we’re talking about human beings and their emotions here, not an exact science.

    So while the IFA/NI may never attract the primary loyalty of nationalists, there’s a big gap in between loyalty and enmity into which they could move, and in which they could at least enjoy the goodwill of nationalists.

    Because to be honest, I think that’s the best you’re gonna get.

  • nuttal

    BP,

    Well, if the FIFA proposals are pushed through, I would say then that there would be no reason for you to support the IFA team whatsoever.

    It would then be the de facto “orange” team (even more than it may seem at the moment). With links and ties to only one side of the divide.

    I too would find this hard to support as I have no interests in supporting a team representing just one side of the divide here. To me, it would be as distasteful as supporting, say, a whites only team.

    I want a team that can represent me and all my friends and family (both “traditions” and others) from the region in which I live.

    I firmly believe that the effects of imposing the FIFA proposal would lead to a sporting apartheid.

    I can see why the IFA actions might seem unreasonable, and I can also see how it is hurtful for nationalists to be denied the opportunity to play for what they see as their nation.

    ..and, I have no doubt that the IFA’s reasons were self-preserving, but I think it is the better of two bad options.

    Under IFA’s proposals, I would say that your reasons for supporting NI, would be that you’d be supporting (assuming you’re from the north) local lads representing all the local community.

    I would hope that the IFA would sort out it’s symbols and anthems to be more inclusive of everyone in Northern Ireland. The Union Jacks and GSTQ don’t represent me at all either.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Nuttal

    “It would then be the de facto “orange” team (even more than it may seem at the moment). With links and ties to only one side of the divide.”

    What do you think of my earlier suggestion that the opposite might happen – that in fact we might see quite a few journeymen pros from Dublin and Cork and Galway coming to Belfast for international football?

    (As indeed we saw plenty of Dubs coming north and playing at Linfield and Portadown even in the bleakest days of the Troubles.)

    Clearly that would be an interesting scenario – and one that would send the loyalties of nationalists haring off in lots of different directions.

  • nuttal

    Juan Kerr,

    “Stop presenting the arguments of an incalcitrant six-year-old who refuses to see the situation from anyone else’s point of view, and then claims to be suffering at the hands of everyone else’s prejudices just because things aren’t turning out the way YOU want them to.”

    If people have the decency to engage in civilised debate with you over the issue, dont throw shit like this at them just because they don’t agree with you. What’s the point of debating with someone if this is how much you respect them?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Nuttal

    “I would hope that the IFA would sort out it’s symbols and anthems to be more inclusive of everyone in Northern Ireland. The Union Jacks and GSTQ don’t represent me at all either.”

    Incidentally, I would point out that the apparent reduction in UJs/Rangers jerseys etc on the terraces, and their replacement with flags and jerseys of green, DOES matter to this particular republican Windsor-sceptic, and I applaud it.

    Very often people are too keen to focus on the work that is still undone, rather than giving credit for the work that has been done. Just wanted to give credit where it’s due.

    (Before lunging back in with more criticism!)

  • iain

    kensei
    i’ll disagree with you there. I believe that we all have European citizenship now, but our nationality isn’t European. Equally, i’m a citizen of Glasgow, but that’s not my nationality either. My passport says nationality British, but its wrong in my eyes. My nationality is Scottish, though i’m a citizen of glasgow/UK/Europe. Confusion arises because most people live in a nation state, where the nation and state occupy the same geographical area. the Irish situation is difficult because the Irish nation straddles two states. BTW, by Irish nation i mean the nation that is a recognised independent member of the UN and other inter/multi-NATIONAL organisations). I don’t believe that having the right to an Irish passport automatically makes you Irish, though it does mean you’re a citizen of Ireland. You’re Irish because that’s you’re idenity.

    Nuttal, you’re right, not the RoI team, its the Ireland Team (they have representatives from the whole island). The IFA team can’t be the Ireland team. It doesn’t have representative from the whole island.

  • BP

    BP,

    It could well happen, it probably would.

    It didnt really stop Linfield from having a more or less exclusively protestant fan base. Nor Rangers for that matter. I don’t really think the problem is with the players, it’s more a fan-base issue. I still think the fan-base would remain distinctively polar.

    I don’t really know, but did English people look on ROI as their second team because they started recruiting more “english” players in the 90’s?

    Maybe more benign southern fans might look more favourably upon the other team in this situation, but in the more polarised areas of society I can’t see it happening.

  • nuttal

    Kensei,

    “..because I have bought a Northern Ireland shirt and turned up at Windsor you’d be more agreeable to a United Ireland”

    I would.

    It’s an emphasis on a “us” and “them” agenda that puts me off. A consistent show of solidarity like you describe above would do wonders.

    Honestly.

  • janeymac

    BP
    Good point. I’m from the ROI and would always hope that NI win their games (provided not playing ROI). Most people I know down here have that attitude – most just want to see fellow islanders/locals do well. We may not go to matches, but material benefit for NI could be gained through TV rights etc.

    Now, if you had a few lads from the ROI on your team, I bet you could fill the maze (or whatever) no problem.

  • nuttal

    Iain,

    “Nuttal, you’re right, not the RoI team, its the Ireland Team (they have representatives from the whole island). The IFA team can’t be the Ireland team. It doesn’t have representative from the whole island.”

    Iain, did you read the article leading into this thread. What FIFA is proposing is that there would be two “Ireland” teams, both able to select from anywhere in Ireland.

    “either play for the Football Association of Ireland or the Irish Football Association”

  • Juan Kerr

    I’m not throwing shit at anyone, or disrespecting anyone. As I’ve said before this is an ironic example of people wanting to drag sport into politics, rather than the other way around, which is usually the case.

    I don’t see how anyone can argue that someone who is a citizen of the Republic of Ireland should not be allowed play for their country and I cannot accept that someone who argues such a point refuses to see that there is something inherently wrong in that.

    I’ve posted on this site before that, IMHO, if NI qualified for a major tournament tomorrow and ROI didn’t, they would have the overwhelming support of most genuine ROI supporters and let me say I wish the very best of luck to NI in trying to qualify for EURO 08. Further to that let me say tthe very best of luck to any promising young footballer from NI who declares for NI, whatever side of whatever town, village or county he’s from. But trying to deny NI nationalists who are legimitimate citizens of the Irish Republic, as ratified by ALL parties to the Belfast Agreement and voted on by the people of this Island, Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter, the right to represent the Irish Republic is inherently unfair.

    It (NI players declaring for the ROI) may, as has been suggested, be an unforeseen consequence of the GFA but come on – going back to 1998, does anyone really think this issue would have been a deal-breaker in the pressure cooker of the final moments of negotiations?

    Picture the scene: someone suddenly bursts into the room (probably Michael Stone, whose lawyer would presumably argue during his subsequent trial that it was another piece of ‘performance art’ or ‘street theatre’) as Trimble was just about to put pen to paper and says “NOOOOOO! Don’t do it, man! Themmuns is gonna use it poach a future George Best from us’uns???

  • nuttal

    janeymac,

    I think it’s a little easier to have a benign attitude when you are that little bit removed from the problem.

    I can see that from a southern perspective it would seem a win-win proposal.

    But, my point is that in an already fractured society as we have in the north, a more emphasized split along green/orange lines does no-one any favours

  • nuttal

    juan kerr,

    we’ll have to disagree on that one. I see it very much as a case of bringing politics into sport. If it was just about the sport, it would be a squabble between IFA and FAI over jurisdictions. Now that politicians have got involved it’s quite political.

    I’m going to get a bit abstract here, so please bear with me. Supposing that you were interested in scottish footbsll, Glasgow in particular. Imagine there were three big teams. Rangers, Celtic and a third equally large mixed team (mixed support or players). Considering if you were a staunch Celtic supporter. Which team would you be most likely to favour as a second team.

    A major reason I would say that many nationalists benignly support the northern team is that there are players there from their community, from their background. They are supporting their local lads.

    Now imagine 10/15 years down the line of totally polarized football. Is there going to be anyone from your community playing for the other side? unlikely.

    Would you have any links or ties with the players on the team? Not really. Are people as likely to look benignly upon the other team? I don’t believe they will.

    Maybe supporters of the bigger side may look benignly down upon the other, but I can’t see it being reciprocated. Most IFA supporters will look upon the FAI as the poachers, irrespective of the politics behind it.

    Nationalists will probably say that this is a problem for the orange side; but divisions like this will only create problems for everyone in the long run.

  • janeymac

    Nuttal

    “I think it’s a little easier to have a benign attitude when you are that little bit removed from the problem.”

    Agree with you about the attitude, but I also think it might help neutralise those with more polarised views. I always remember how stunned the Ulster Rugby team and supporters (to all intents and purposes a protestant/unionist team) at the welcome & support they got in Dublin in ’99 for Heineken Cup Final. No one down here took any notice of the many Stormant Banners that were on display (despite it being a 9 county Ulster team!).

    A work colleague of mine who happened to be in South Africa on holiday and went to some ROI under age soccer tournament which was also attended by the Offaly GAA team (I think). One of the GAA players was on the phone constantly to a friend at the rugby match in Lansdowne Road and was providing the Irish supporters score updates at the soccer match in South Africa. This was mentioned in the context that it would appear that ‘sporting apartheid’ was now well and truly over in Ireland!

  • darth rumsfeld

    bp
    the best possible reason for supporting NI is charlie’s post 10

    the best reason not to is kensei’s post I highlighted

  • nuttal

    Janeymac,

    I think rugby is a different case. Rugby, evenly though primarily protestant in the north, until recently with the ireland match at ravenhill, has managed to keep well clear of politics.

    Rugby has always steered as far away as possible from any sensitive political issues, thus avoiding alienating any of their potential support.

    Compare this to football, and to an extent GAA. Both sports have had political stances / interferences and hence have an alienation aspect to their support.

  • janeymac

    Nuttal

    I would say that rugby has dealt much better with all the politics rather than avoided the politics. Its impossible to avoid politics considering the political situation. Taking into account that the GAA sees itself as an Irish cultural organisation, don’t underestimate the moderating influence coming from GAA in Republic on the Ulster Branch of the GAA (remember all 9 counties of Ulster did not want Croke Park to open to foreign games). Football in NI has no such moderating influences.

    It would appear that the Ulster Branch of the IRFU went along with the decision and as far as I know, had no problem selling tickets to the game in Ravenhill. This would lead one to believe that the IRFU/UB were trying to avoid any awkward situations with GSTQ. It would have been very embarrassing for them if the “No Surrender” chanters (not genuine rugby fans) used/abused the opportunity it presented in Ravenhill, if played.

  • willowfield

    The Spectator

    Aer you saying that Ireland’s [sic] law granting irish [sic] citizenship to Northern Ireland born people is unfair? If so, what is unfair about the law?

    I’m saying that Southern Ireland’s citizenship laws make FIFA’s football eligibility rules unfair in relation to Northern Ireland, since they result in one FIFA member being able to claim all the players of another FIFA member as its own.

    Pacman

    And they’re trying to prevent Irishmen from playing for their own team for what reason then?

    Er, to stop NI players defecting to ROI, and to prevent football apartheid in NI.

    Correct me if I’m so obviously wrong, but if it’s an Irish team, then why are they a British association and choose their players only from the political entity that encompasses only six counties of Ireland? And why did they consider Alan Kernagahn ineligible when he actually wanted to play for them?

    Well, first, being a British association doesn’t stop a team being Irish, any more than it stops a team being English, Scottish or Welsh. Second, they choose players only from NI because they are the governing body for football in NI. Third, they considered Kernaghan ineligible because at the time they didn’t utilise the grandparent rule.

    Kensei

    No, I think you’ll find I accepted that FIFA could do what they want on that thread. Merely that it would be against all sense and natural justice.

    No, you didn’t. You kept insisting there were “rights” involved and “legal challenges”, etc.! LOL. Nice attempt at disguising it, but you’ve done a 180 degree turn!

    Cladycowboy

    A ruling that could lead to very interesting developments, hopefully good ones.

    There is no ruling.

    Billy Pilgrim

    However, I have further argued that they (IFA and GAWA) should accept they have lost this round

    Why should they accept that they have lost, when they haven’t yet lost. The time for acceptance is once FIFA makes its ruling – and would you agree that the FAI should also accept the ruling even if they lose?

    Can some of the GAWA lads lay out a few reasons why I should support the NI team?

    Er, because you’re from NI?

    Billy Liar

    It’s simply unjust.

    I would say, on the contrary, it’s “simply unjust” that one team can claim all the citizens of another as its own.

    Juan Kerr

    If Scotland held a referendum on independence tomorrow then (not beyond the bounds of possibility, I think it’s well accepted by now), and let’s just say for argument’s sake, that the vote was 75-80% in favour of full independence from Britain. Presumably you would argue that there should be a ‘Northern Scotland’ set up for those who wished to remain as part of the UK, and a separate football association to accomodate the ‘unionists’ of same.

    What a preposterous question. Apart from the fact that there is no such geographical split in Scotland, neither are there two distinct peoples. There is a consensus in Scotland that there is a single Scottish people.

    Look I’ve said it on this site before and I’ll say it again for those who don’t understand – and you can stay here as long as you want arguing the point, I don’t really care – but FIFA will/would/could never, ever get away with trying to pass a ‘rule’ that says a bona fide citizen is not allowed to represent his country in a sporting competition, whether it be in Ireland or anywhere else.

    That’s patently false, because they already have passed such rules. For example bona fide Danish citizens from the Faroes may not represent their country in a sporting competition.

    I don’t see how anyone can argue that someone who is a citizen of the Republic of Ireland should not be allowed play for their country and I cannot accept that someone who argues such a point refuses to see that there is something inherently wrong in that.

    The argument is that ROI citizens who aren’t actually from ROI – i.e. they weren’t born there, have no parental or grandparental connection, and have never lived there – shouldn’t qualify for ROI. There’s no argument against ROI citizens who actually are from ROI.

    IAIN

    Nuttal, you’re right, not the RoI team, its the Ireland Team (they have representatives from the whole island).

    The ROI team represent the ROI and nowhere else. Just because they can select players from NI doesn’t mean they aren’t representing ROI.

  • The Truth is Bitter

    Being born into the artificial statelet of the 6 counties should never disqualify you from playing for your country Ireland. The northeast is not a normal society and never will be and is even a joke to people over in Britain, so the likes of Gregory Campell and Edwina Poots should throw off the chains of colonisation and stop trying to deny Irishmen their rights.

  • kensei

    “No, you didn’t. You kept insisting there were “rights” involved and “legal challenges”, etc.! LOL. Nice attempt at disguising it, but you’ve done a 180 degree turn!”

    The right to play football for a country is at issue, yes. Gibson’s uncle has also claimed that people would go to court over the issue, so we haven’t rules that out yet.

    Not my fault you can’t read or don’t understand, willow.

  • cladycowboy

    willowfield

    ‘There is no ruling.’

    Corrected I stand (up for the Ulstermen). It’s merely FIFA circulating their preferred potential ruling.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Willow

    “Why should they accept that they have lost, when they haven’t yet lost.”

    Two reasons.

    1) FIFA are probably going to rule against them anyway, on the eminently sensible grounds that they simply don’t want to get involved in this intra-Irish wrangle.

    2) It’d be the better strategic move. Regardless of how technically correct they may think themselves to be, the IFA are killing themselves in terms of nationalist perception on this issue. They really need to stop digging this particular hole they’ve got themselves into.

    Of course that’s just my own opinion of what the smart course of action would be.

    “The time for acceptance is once FIFA makes its ruling – and would you agree that the FAI should also accept the ruling even if they lose?”

    You’re falling into the trap of tit-for-tat thinking here Willow. The reality is that the FAI are in a totally different strategic position from the IFA. They aren’t alienating any potential support by pursuing this – indeed they’re probably winning new fans as a result. The IFA however are in the opposite position. You can flip it over and try to make this about the FAI if you wish, but it’s a futile effort, and does nothing to address the difficulties the IFA have got themselves into.

    As I said, they really need to stop digging. They really need to let this go.

    And besides, it now seems clear where FIFA’s thinking is – they don’t want any part of this squabble. According to Mr Gibson Snr there’s a queue of footballers with lawyers standing ready to challenge them if they side with the IFA, so I’m willing to bet that FIFA’s decision will be the one that keeps FIFA out of court.

    “Can some of the GAWA lads lay out a few reasons why I should support the NI team?

    – Er, because you’re from NI?”

    Not remotely good enough. What else you got?

  • Realist

    “According to Mr Gibson Snr there’s a queue of footballers with lawyers standing ready to challenge them if they side with the IFA”

    Billy Pilgrim,

    Any chance these players might make themselves known – just so as the IFA don’t go trying to pick them?

    We don’t want to be wasting one penny of resource in such players.

    PS. Is this the same Mr Gibson Snr who has maintained that the only reason his kid left the IFA was because of a dispute over going on a trial with Manchester United?

    Jeezus – he’s getting in up to his oxsters in the whole “politics” thing!

  • austin

    Realist,
    So if Gibson chooses the Republic it’s ‘political’ but when young O’Connor and Kane return to the NI fold its for ‘footballing reasons’, as per your earier post.

    I think you are betraying your own political prejudices here by not accepting that Gibson’s heart lay with the national football team that he grew up supporting and that’s who he wanted to play for.

    However if you wish you can keep your head in the sand and persist in your paranoid notion that there is something seditious and sinister in Darron’s decision.