Spotlight: the problem of two football associations..

Interesting piece from Spotlight on the problem of Northern Ireland losing talent to the FAI. Darron Gibson of Derry City apparently is only the third NI born player to make the A team of the Irish Republic, but a pro-active campaign on the part of the FAI suggests that pressures in the modern game may be forcing its hand someone. Interestingly, the FAI declined a camera interview. FIFA, who don’t come well out it at all, produced an internal circular 901 last May which asserted a new set of rules over extra territorial players that allowed for Grannies, but re-emphasised the importance of territory as the predication of eligibility. As a footnote of sorts it seems that extra revenues that would flow from an all Ireland league is popular with the clubs, but not with the two associations.

  • mark fartlighter

    Scotty we have a FAI vs IFA thread of the starboard bow, life support power to the server!

  • austin

    Thought the show was a bit of a mess, Mick. Poor research and a few red herrings thrown in as well.

    It was obvious that the female reporter hadn’t got a clue about the issue at hand and was blankly reading from an autocue.

    Anyway time for Willowfield to get wired into the old Copy and Pasting-Go on my son,make me sick as a parrott…

  • Diluted Orange

    Ding ding … round 189 of RoI fans vs NI fans and a litany of unfounded allegations about how NI fans are too sectarian for their more Republican minded colleagues to want to share a stadium with them. ZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Wake me up when its over.

  • wallop

    why MIck whhhhhhyyyyyyyyyyyyy???????????

    Interestingly I’m now thinking you should start a thread of this ilk every day and see if the vitriol will ever stop?

    If they can keep the madness going for say 365 days we know NI is permanently fecked.

  • Small”r”Republican

    I’ll probably be slated for what is a no doubt a first and rather naive post on my behalf… Personally, as lad from the southern part of this island I would like nothing more than to have the two teams playing together under the same flag ( whatever that flag would be; noting the current rugby anthem/flag issues). It may be a cliche, but sport does really bring people together, and having us playing together would allow me and others to get to know the “other side” as it were. Its great on match days in Landsdown, having the craic about pints and rugby, and it not making a difference what our political beliefs are. So what if some of the NI supporeters are sectarian? Can anyone deny the RoI aren’t sectarian sometimes too? And if the situation remains, this division and sectarianism ain’t gonna go away. What about celebrating what unites us, rather than what divides us.

  • austin

    methinks that ‘small’r’republican’ has struck early doors’ as the first troll of the thread- A straightforward off-side decision thanks to the ‘RoI’ reference that no self-respecting fan would ever use – DOH!!!

  • Small”r”Republican

    I was using RoI out of politeness, that is all.

  • George

    Austin,
    I agree. Very poorly researched and loads of irrelevant stuff thrown it at the strangest of times.

    It seemed as if the people who made the programme actually didn’t know what the issue was about. I was very disappointed.

    The most ridiculous part was when they started talking about teams getting players who hadn’t been born in their country and of course brought up Big Jack’s policy in the late 80s and early 90s.

    And what example to they they then immediately turn to? Terry bleedin’ Mancini, who played in 1973.

    Either they hadn’t a clue or it was a piece of pathetic editing.

  • kensei

    The program was a bit unbalanced. First up, the only political representatives were from the DUP and the SDLP; I have yet to see an SF politician comment on the issue in the media. Second, they asked two Derry City footballers, presumably from Nationalist backgrounds, whether or not they’d be prepared to play for the Republic or not, but omitted the seemingly obvious in not asking anyone from a Unionist background if they’d be prepared to play for the Republic. Third, they had Eamonn McCann wittering on about something he apparently knew nothing about. Yes Eamonn, Britain has 4 teams. But that is an issue enough within FIFA and has it’s only separate rules for those circumstances.

    The interviews with former Nationalist players was also largely unilluminating. They made their choice and they were highly unlikely to suggest they’d made the wrong one. There is also a generational gap, and an even greater political one. They also had a little piece on sectarianism, but never probed the attitudes, the reaction or the affect it produced.

    So a bit disappointed all in all. A few things feel out, mostly obvious ones like footballers will try to play for the best team they can, Nationalist players want the choice and Edwin Poots is an idiot. I would like to say I can’t believe he actually came out with the statement that if you want to play for the Republic, you should go live there, but that would be a lie.

  • kensei

    “And what example to they they then immediately turn to? Terry bleedin’ Mancini, who played in 1973. ”

    Forgot about that. Moronic.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Mick

    Very poor production, I’m afraid, and a bit out of date as well.

    The reporter should not have permitted Minister Poots’ ludicrous assertion that young people would be pressurised/ coerced into playing for the Republic of Ireland without challenging it. The omission of the infamous ‘Night in November’ game is somewhat perplexing, given that it (certainly more than the Neil Lennon threats) proved decisive in drawing the lines of allegiance for football fans in the north; the sorry Lennon saga only confirmed for nationalists the status of the northern team as one not reflective of their community.

    I think FAI have handled this very well from the outset- indeed, had they handled the matter of appointing a new manager as well we’d be a considerably more contented lot by now….

    The bottom line, of course, remains that this is not something the FAI are forcing on people from the north; rather, it is a choice being freely made by Irish citizens born in the six counties- as the McChrystal lad- currently with the IFA set up- made clear when interviewed, he’d be only too happy to play for the Republic if given the chance.

    For Poots et al to suggest otherwise is denial at best and narrow-minded intolerance at worse.

    FIFA have made a decision which is really the only one workable in our context- the IFA/ Poots line would involve FIFA asserting that Irish citizens in the north really weren’t Irish citizens at all.

    I think you’ll find the IFA quietly dropping this one, as it has already done considerable damage to the IFA’s efforts to repair relations with the nationalist community.

  • URQUHART

    What i thought was very interesting about the programme was the very deliberate, and very effective juxtaposition of the analysis which said the two associations were only being maintained to keep the fatcats in jobs, and a very uncomfortable looking (and English accented) Howard Wells talking about the great influence that the IFA has on the world stage.

    Not very subtle, but effective.

  • republicanstoned

    On dear, the BBC did not endorse the blinkered views of CD, Kensei, Austin etc.

    How dare they.

  • kensei

    “On dear, the BBC did not endorse the blinkered views of CD, Kensei, Austin etc.

    How dare they. ”

    It didn’t particularly endorse a view per se. It just wasn’t very good at exploring the issue.

    Have you got a point?

  • Chris Donnelly

    URQUHART

    You’re right about the vested interests in the two associations not particularly keen on adopting the turkey pose ahead of Christmas, but a programme dedicated to that issue would’ve been more interesting at this stage.

    Certainly, with Stafford Reynolds giving the tentative discussions about an all-Ireland league such a warm welcome, and Linfield similarly reported to be interested in progressing the issue beyond just idle discussions, now would appear to be the time for a more insightful programme looking at the merits of such a development and where the opposition may be found.

    If we are indeed to go down that route, I think it’ll be a necessary pre-requisite to park the two national teams wrangling as it only succeeds in polarising opinion- hence the reason why the most recent meetings between the two associations have deliberately excluded the vexed issue of eligibility from the agenda.

  • George

    republicanstoned,
    the BBC don’t know what they were talking about. That’s the reality. Remember the BBC completely misreported this issue several times in the last 12 months. Despite this, they still don’t seem to have learnt what the points are on which this discussion turns.

    URQUHART,
    totally ineffective in my view because all it would have taken was to point out to Wells that the IFA would maintain a permanent seat on the International Football Association Board if the FAI rejoined the IFA.

    Everyone who supports football in Ireland knows that if there ever was to be a single association it would have to be the IFA and it would have to sit in Belfast.

  • Doctor Who

    I thought Felix Healey and Eamonn McCann made the two most telling contributions to the whole debate!

    Healey pointed out that the question of eligibility had become “politicised” unlike in his playing days for OWC.

    McCann when he asserted that footballing “nationality” is NOT the same as political “nationality”, citing the fact that there is no country called “Scotland”, “England” or “Wales”, yet each has an international football team, therefore why can’t Northern Ireland?

    Also, a very interesting point from Wells where he hinted that we might look forward to the minuted record of exactly what was decided by FIFA in their December meeting.

    Overall, yes it was poor but it wasn’t as bad as I feared – if you ignore the crap like Lawrenson’s All-Ireland selection. One important point to remember is the obvious inadequacies of the IFA and their scouting system isn´t always down to poor management but at times a lack of resources.

    Brian Hamilton demanded and secured an U21 team for NI, I think the current situation would be a lot worse had he not demanded the introduction of such a side. I think the IFA should find roles for men like Hamilton who was always prepared to go anywhere to promote his team in a positive light all around OWC.

    Of course special mention to Gerry Armstrong, surely an inspiration for all young NI players from all backgrounds. I´m sure you will agree Chris Donnelly.

    Finally I know some ROI are rather sensitive to the very inoffensive term “beggars” but I really think it´s about time they went back to begging and put a stop to the stealing.

  • George

    “Also, a very interesting point from Wells where he hinted that we might look forward to the minuted record of exactly what was decided by FIFA in their December meeting.”

    That was the only thing in the whole programme that perked my interest, to be honest.

    What I immediately thought was: Oh my God, this guy has learnt absolutely nothing from the laast year and a half.

    He is so ill-informed he actually thinks that the post-dated minutes of a closed FIFA meeting are going to be different than the official statement given.

    Then of course there’s the small matter of realising that if there’s any confusion over the meaning of the minutes, the issue will go to the FIFA Legal Department in Zurich, the same people who drafted the last official statement.

    It’s over Howard, move on and send a scout to Derry.

  • RepublicanStones

    simple fact remains why would a football association want to field a player who would be reluctant to play for them. it is not stealing if the player wishes to play for them. if your irish, which people in the north are, although others choose not to be, then you can play for Ireland, the republic.

  • darth rumsfeld

    interesting programme if flawed
    First, hats off to Gerry Armstrong- a gent without a doubt
    Second the two Derry City footballers both seemed to be noticably lacking in MOPEry that so often accompanies this type of thread. They simply wanted to play at the highest level, and one pointed out that the IFA hadn’t asked him. Hardly the oppression of national identity ballons like Pat Ramsey would claim.

    Felix Healy…. well, he was a regular bete noir of the Belfast teams in the eighties, and he got some of the worst sectarian abuse I’ve ever heard any player receive from their fans- deplorable.

    But he didn’t mention it in the context of international football and that’s significant. He blames politicians for stirring up this debate.Like the younger players you get the feeling there’s no resistance to play for OWC-sorry to shoot your illusion republicanstones.

  • janeymac

    George: “totally ineffective in my view because all it would have taken was to point out to Wells that the IFA would maintain a permanent seat on the International Football Association Board if the FAI rejoined the IFA.”

    What use exactly has a permanent seat on that particular board been to the IFA/NI football or indeed what has the IFA done for world football?

    “Everyone who supports football in Ireland knows that if there ever was to be a single association it would have to be the IFA and it would have to sit in Belfast.”

    Why would they have to sit in Belfast – the FAI have a new HQ in Abbotstown (80 staff?) including a brand new academy (I think it has 7 all-weather pitches). There is also the matter of Lansdowne Road being in Dublin, not to mention Belfast being in the extreme NE of the country. Hardly central now is it for those from the South West.

    Don’t be frightening us down here … at least the FAI seem to be capable of meeting criteria for Gov. funding. The IFA missed out on £6m because they won’t reform!

  • Speaking as a fan of Northern Ireland I was really unimpressed with Howard Wells, he reminded me all to well of the snooty English civil servants who sit in the committee meetings to remind them on points of procedure.

    It brought some interesting insight in to what happened with Darron Gibson. [i]If[/i] it’s true and the IFA dropped the ball with Gibson then I really can’t blame him for switching to the Republic.

    I was suprised to see the chairman of my own beloved Glentoran supporting the idea of an all-Ireland league, if only because he has to know what kind of backlash he’ll get from a small, yet loud, section of the fans.

  • willowfield

    JANEYMAC

    What use exactly has a permanent seat on that particular board been to the IFA/NI football or indeed what has the IFA done for world football?

    Ever heard of the penalty kick?

    Why would they have to sit in Belfast – the FAI have a new HQ in Abbotstown (80 staff?) including a brand new academy (I think it has 7 all-weather pitches). There is also the matter of Lansdowne Road being in Dublin, not to mention Belfast being in the extreme NE of the country. Hardly central now is it for those from the South West.

    It wouldn’t have to sit in Belfast. Maybe as a sop, though, in any negotiations about uniting, the Southerners would offer to fold and rejoin the IFA in return for establishing an all-Ireland jurisdiction. In future years, though, there’d be nothing to stop the Southerners voting to move the HQ to Dublin.

  • sean

    The footballing authorities in N.Ireland must get their act together and never mind the poaching of a few players by the Republic, and start and organise football at grass root level , where it is a shambles. A local football club which is in existence for one hundred years in the area i live in, still leases its ground from a landlord and has ramshackle portakabins for , club rooms, and changing facilities, and can only afford to train at one end of the pitch on winter evenings as , they cant afford to switch on all the floodlighting. This is in stark contrast to nearby GAA club, only in existence since the early sixties, it has modern flood lighting , two full size Gaelic pitches, recently installed Astro Turf pitch, and excellent club rooms. When you look at GAA facilities in N, Ireland , one better than the next, and compare them to what local football clubs.Football in the majority of cases is a shambles. Start getting the infrastrure up to a high standard to attract more youth to play the game and a few poached players here and there wont matter that much. By the way programme dammed poor other than contribution from the genius McCann, and that real gentleman Armstrong.

  • Dec

    Quite frankly that reporter is an idiot. We were presented with Felix Healy recalling the sectarian abuse he regularly received at Windsor Park and the Oval only to be reminded by a voice over that “sectarianism is a two way street”: cue Eamonn McCann informing us that some Derry fans wanted England to beat NI.

  • janeymac

    Willowfield
    “Ever heard of the penalty kick?”

    Indeed I have. Fantastic contribution.

    Do you not think all this running of world football, might prove to be a bit of a distraction from actually running Irish football?

    Sean
    You are so right about the GAA and facilities right around the country. A good plan on unification of two FAs would be to get the GAA to run it!

  • janeymac

    Willowfield

    “In future years, though, there’d be nothing to stop the Southerners voting to move the HQ to Dublin.”

    What! You mean the IFA would settle for a majority rule situation?

    I need to lie down!

  • ““sectarianism is a two way street”: cue Eamonn McCann informing us that some Derry fans wanted England to beat NI.”

    Whereas we should also have been invited to watch footage of 6,000 Republic fans singing “stand up if you hate the Brits” in Germany or we should have heard about Republic fans stoning school buses in Strabane in 2004.

  • Dec

    Chekov

    If you can demonstrate that ‘Brits’ is now an officially recognised religion then certainly that is a good example of sectarianism. Until then, I’ll stand by my original point that exercising of free choice is not sectarianism.

  • Dec, I don’t think either Fenian or Taig is an officially recognised religion, but they’re still sectarian terms. Besides, is Xenophobia any better? It’s still bigotry.

  • George

    Janeymac,
    What use exactly has a permanent seat on that particular board been to the IFA/NI football or indeed what has the IFA done for world football?

    I can add banning the back pass to the penalty kick mentioned by Willowfield, a move that killed off Jack Charlton’s kick and rush, hoof it up to Niall and the Icecream man style of football. As successful as it was it was killing skillful football. It was a service to world football to introduce this rule.

    Also, let’s be honest here, it’s nice for any sporting organisation to have a seat at the top table and to be considered a sort of guardian of the sport. Plus, think of all the junkets for the blazers.

    Why would they have to sit in Belfast

    See junket comment above for a start. The IFA has more perks. Secondly, the IFA came first so it would only be right. Thirdly, and most importantly, the new IFA would get the cross-government funding necessary for a 60,000+-seater football stadium situated in Belfast, with a snazzy new headquarters too. In my view, if Irish football fans aren’t prepared to accept such an eventuality, they aren’t prepared for a single island team.

    Also, Lansdowne Road is the home of rugby, not football.

    The IFA missed out on £6m because they won’t reform!

    The FAI have been in existence for 80 years and they still don’t have a stadium. The IFA and FAI are both muppets in my view. The only difference is that the FAI have been dragged kicking and screaming into modernity by the government cash carrot while the IFA are still wondering what that orange thing is in front of their eyes every time they come home from another board meeting in Zurich, fat on asparagus and dulled by fine red wine sipped at the Sonnenberg.

    The biggest threat to the IFA is the IFA.

  • Dec

    Beano

    If you’re talking about xenophobia in the context of a football match, then I’m pretty sure the charge could be levelled at every country across the planet. The reporter’s point, that wanting England to beat Northern Ireland was as s sectarian as shouting “Die you fenian bastard” at a football player for 90 mins, was moronic and insulting. Chekov’s whataboutery was equally confused.

  • willowfield

    If you can demonstrate that ‘Brits’ is now an officially recognised religion then certainly that is a good example of sectarianism.

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    That old chestnut!

  • Democratic

    Dec is of course right – such comparisons are petty and suggest a much greater disparency than actually existed in that era – I still remember the away matches at Solitiude and some of the abuse given our way by the Red supporters in the late 80’s early 90’s – it wasn’t pretty and just as bad as “I hope you die you F****n barsteward!” I can tell you…

  • Jackie Huttons rawa

    The idea of an all Ireland league was covered in an article in the Sunday Tribune about two weeks ago. It provided little comfort for northern supporters. It was envisaged that there would be certain guidelines for entry to amke it viable
    6k capacity stadium (all seats)
    Average attendance in excess of 3.5k
    All full time professional players.
    No northern team met this at the moment. It was predicted that only Linfield, Derry, and Glentoran came close, each meeting some of the criteria now or in the future with new grounds planned.

  • janeymac

    George
    “Also, let’s be honest here, it’s nice for any sporting organisation to have a seat at the top table and to be considered a sort of guardian of the sport. Plus, think of all the junkets for the blazers.”

    What good has it done the IFA sitting at the top table as regards Gibson? It certainly hasn’t helped them to understand how FIFA might interpret the rules! Isn’t this top table thingy to do with rotating permanent chair between Home Nations FAs (England has it at the moment, I think)

    “… Thirdly, and most importantly, the new IFA would get the cross-government funding necessary for a 60,000+ seater football stadium situated in Belfast …”

    Does the island need another 60,000+ seater stadium? Do you expect supporters from Cork and Kerry to go to NE Ireland for a game, particularly with public transport/infrastructure system. 30,000/40,000 is probably what is needed in Belfast, but really Croke Park capacity a couple of times a year is what they will need to keep the finances ticking over.

    All the noises are that Croke Park will be available if necessary for European Championship bid etc, Thomond Park will be available (26,000), new stadium in Cork (50,000).

    The FAI have been bailed out by the IRFU/Irish Gov. and now have a stake in the Lansdowne Road stadium (new management company) so they can actually call it home. I think they have come up with about €80/90m themselves for it (selling Merrion Square , 10 year seats, corporate sponsorship etc.) as well as the €180m from Irish Gov. Not sensible to be leaving that idle.

    The Irish Sports Council/Irish Gov. have sat on the FAI – that is the only reason why anything has been achieved, but with the exception as to how they are managing the International team manager, they really seem to have got their act together. I don’t see NI Assembly Ministers having the necessary skills to deal with the IFA.

  • kensei

    “See junket comment above for a start. The IFA has more perks. Secondly, the IFA came first so it would only be right. Thirdly, and most importantly, the new IFA would get the cross-government funding necessary for a 60,000+-seater football stadium situated in Belfast, with a snazzy new headquarters too. In my view, if Irish football fans aren’t prepared to accept such an eventuality, they aren’t prepared for a single island team.”

    The travel requirements for fans from the South are prohibitive in that case. I wouldn’t particularly mind the IFA situated in Belfast (though, can we get rid of most of the idiots in it (and the FAI too)?) but I think a more sensible option would be rotation between Cork, Dublin and Belfast. A number of international teams do it. With an All Ireland team, surely we could retain the use of Croke for the really big matches, too?

  • George

    Also, Lansdowne Road is the home of rugby, not football.
    And
    The FAI have been in existence for 80 years and they still don’t have a stadium.

    The new Lansdowne Road stadium being built will be jointly owned by the IRFU and the FAI. The IRFU will continue to have sole ownership of the ground upon which it is built.

    It’s easy to take the piss out of the FAI about the stadium issue, but a lot of people forget that they actually had a plan for one ten years ago (Eircom Park). Had that gone ahead, it would have been completed sometime around 2002. The FAI abandoned their plans for it when they were given assurances by Bertie Ahern that the fabled Bertie Bowl was definitely going ahead. But, as we all know now, they were sold a pup.

  • Funny bit of MOPEary from Eammon McCann. Every Catholic I know has always claimed they where over the moon that NI beat England. Maybe things are that different in Derry.

  • Dec

    Democratic

    I’m relieved that someone finally grasps the point I was making.

  • Dec

    Pounder

    Every Catholic I know has always claimed they where over the moon that NI beat England.

    I would be interested to discover what, from a unionist perspective, is exactly wrong with favouring one Britsh team over another.

  • George

    Janeymac,
    What good has it done the IFA sitting at the top table as regards Gibson?

    The IFA never asked for a ruling on Gibson. Just another thing the BBC, Belfast Telegraph and everyone else keeps getting wrong.

    Also, what good has living in Ireland done for my suntan? Not much but it has had other advantages.

    Does the island need another 60,000+ seater stadium? Do you expect supporters from Cork and Kerry to go to NE Ireland for a game, particularly with public transport/infrastructure system.

    Belfast needs a 30,000-seater as it is. It most certainly would need a much bigger one if there was an all-Ireland football team based there. And if people from the Republic wouldn’t be prepared to go to Belfast then, as I said, the island isn’t ready for such a team.

    Of course, as Kensei and yourself argue, rotation would be great but the home would have to be Belfast in my view.

    The FAI have been bailed out by the IRFU/Irish Gov. and now have a stake … Not sensible to be leaving that idle.

    Except of course when you retain that stake and are also given another 200 million and a spanking new headquarters.

    I don’t see NI Assembly Ministers having the necessary skills to deal with the IFA.

    I don’t see the NI Assembly having the necessary money to bribe the IFA. The Irish government did have the necessary money to bribe the FAI.

    GerryOS,
    the FAI will have a stake, but I don’t believe they can be considered co-owners. If you can show me where it says they are I’ll gladly accept it.

    The government is putting up 191 million, the IRFU 95 million plus some of the most valuable real estate in Ireland (D4 – where Seán Dunne shelled out 380 million for what I think is a smaller site up the road) and the FAI is stumping up 60 million.

  • janeymac

    George
    “Except of course when you retain that stake and are also given another 200 million and a spanking new headquarters.”

    Where does this 200m actually come from?

    “Belfast needs a 30,000-seater as it is. It most certainly would need a much bigger one if there was an all-Ireland football team based there. And if people from the Republic wouldn’t be prepared to go to Belfast then, as I said, the island isn’t ready for such a team.”

    May I suggest that you from NI are not ready for a all Ireland team if you don’t think funding the game from international matches will be very, very important. Also, remember, the money for the international games will have to be spread more thinly now.

    Ask the IRFU/FAI the difference having 82,000 capacity Croke Park has made to their bottom line recently, and what they can do with that extra money.

  • George

    Janeymac,
    Where does this 200m actually come from?

    Cross-governmental love-in. This all hypothetical remember.

    May I suggest that you from NI are not ready…Ask the IRFU/FAI the difference having 82,000 capacity Croke Park has made to their bottom line recently, and what they can do with that extra money.

    I’m a football fan from the Republic and I’m well aware of the importance of money from international games. That’s why I said a 60,000-seater stadium in Belfast which would be 10,000 more than Lansdowne which = loads more money for this new IFA.

    I think a 20% increase in revenue is substantial.

  • janeymac

    George

    “Cross-governmental love-in.”

    Well, I’d be all for it as long as 200m is coming from British Gov. who have neglected sporting infrastructure in NI. To be honest, the people of the Republic (having built a couple of stadia recently), might prefer to see a bit more cash going into cross-border hospitals, schools etc.

    “… 10,000 more than Lansdowne which = loads more money for this new IFA.”

    Lansdowne has to be paid for still (FAI have sold 10 year tickets based on games over the next 10 years etc).

    Do you honestly think 200m without any contribution from any sporting organisation would be considered?

    Madness.

  • George

    Janeymac,
    Lansdowne has to be paid for still (FAI have sold 10 year tickets based on games over the next 10 years etc).

    Do you honestly think 200m without any contribution from any sporting organisation would be considered?

    There is no chance of this happening in the next 10 years in my view so we are speculating at what might (and that’s a big, big might) happen.

    Down the line, a 50,000-seater Lansdowne might not be a sufficient revenue stream generator for Irish football. They might have cash to offer in future.

  • janeymac

    George

    “Down the line, a 50,000-seater Lansdowne might not be a sufficient revenue stream generator for Irish football. They might have cash to offer in future.”

    Most people actually think Croke Park will be made available in the future, now that the ‘ice’ has been broken. Already there are lucrative friendlies arranged which were not originally in the availability script for Croke Park.

    As well as that, there are a limited number of games that players will be available for.

  • sean

    Football in N.Ireland needs to be built from the grass roots up , and spending millions on a football stadium is nonsense if,nothing is done about the shambolic state of some of existing infrastructure that exist throughout the country. Whilst the vast majority of Rugby and Gaelic clubs own their own grounds , it is the complete opposite as regards Football grounds, the majority of the smaller teams play out of council grounds. These teams cannot plan for the future,as they cannot build infrastructure ,like club rooms etc were they can run functions ,to generate income to improve like Rugby and Gaelic. With ownership of their own grounds ,their is sport grants , lotto money etc to upgrade, and by putting on hold a stadium that is going to cost millions ,and give the money to progressive clubs to move forward, then when Football in a good state , then and only them should millions be spent on a stadium.

  • DK

    This may be a stupid question, but why can’t the IFA select players from the Republic?

    Football players seem to mostly put their careers ahead of their country, so the IFA should be able to get a few. After all, don’t some of them come from England already?