“Of course, it also insists its ‘international’ players carry UK passports”

Sticking with the subject of soccer, there seems to a misapprehension abroad regard the IFA passports issue. It’s hardly surprising since there has been a lot of self serviing posturing around the issue. Even newsman Máirtin O’Muilleoir seems to have the wrong end of the stick, when he states that “…of course, it (the IFA) also insists its ‘international’ players carry UK passports”. However this this is what the chief executive of the IFA, Howard Wells, said before Fifa changed its mind in March 2006:

“There is not a problem about players travelling on either passport,” he said.

“The issue has been that historically, on the administration of some matches that we have had at international level, there has been confusion in the minds of some Uefa officials about the fact… that some of our players have different passports to each other.

“It is because people don’t understand the differences, or the uniqueness of Northern Ireland, in terms of our passport issue.”

Given that was the IFA position at the outset of the controversy, I’m not sure how Máirtín’s claim stands up to scrutiny now…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty