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.