Northern Ireland soccer represents ‘British’ Northern Ireland, not, erm Northern Ireland

I’m not a fan of the rule change that means players who grow up in Northern Ireland rising through facilities paid for by the IFA now have the right to designate as FAI players at internatinonal level. Somehow the GFA got enrolled to convince FIFA that it was okay because of the Belfast Agreement.

FIFA may have been convinced but the Oireachtas isn’t going anywhere near there re voting rights for ex pats never mind passport holders. But Ian Parsley has a great post this morning saying GAWA fans are barking up the wrong tree blaming ROI fans and the FAI, who simply got what they wanted out of a long deliberative process…

According to Ian the real blame attaches almost entirely to an incompetent IFA:

Firstly, the case itself was straightforward and yet the IFA managed to blow it. In the same way that a British passport does not qualify me to play for Scotland (because Iwas not born there and nor were any of my parents or grandparents), an Irish passport does not quality me to play for the Republic of Ireland (for the same reason). The 1998 Agreement clearly makes the population of Northern Ireland “British”, “Irish” or both; the qualification requirement remains, however, that the player or parents or grandparents must be born within the jurisdiction. How that case was lost by the IFA is beyond me.

Secondly, Nigel Worthington only the other day said he believed that you should be born in the country for which you play. This is a ridiculous comment. He himself has selected as his first choice goalkeeper someone on the basis only that his grandfather was from County Down; the goalkeeper he had before that had no connection with Northern Ireland at all (qualifying under the bizarre, and rightly no more current, rule that British citizens born outside the UK could play for any home nation – a daft rule for aforementioned reasons). Such obvious hypocrisy wins no friends. If Northern Ireland is concerned about players who grow up through its training system being “poached”, it should not be so quick to “poach” itself, not least because, by so doing, it restricts opportunities for those who came through its own system.

Thirdly, instead of squealing, the IFA should ask itself why, suddenly, so many young NI-born-and-bred players wish to play for the FAI”s team. For all the (entirely legitimately lauded) progress made by the IFA’s Community Relations team, the fact is the Northern Ireland team does not represent Northern Ireland, but rather a British version of Northern Ireland. It may not be popular to say this, but the anthem played, the venue chosen, and some of the flags displayed all hinder the potential of the team because these locations and symbols are not representative of the entire population. A new anthem and wholehearted support for a new stadium would have greatly helped.

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  • Henry94

    the fact is the Northern Ireland team does not represent Northern Ireland, but rather a British version of Northern Ireland.

    There is no other version of Northern Ireland. The IFA should continue to become more open and welcoming but only because it is the right thing to do. Not to attract Irish support.

    It’s the same for the GAA. Do the right things because they are right rather than with an expectation that people from the other tradition will suddenly become interested. If over time they do then that’s a bonus.

  • Nordie Northsider

    That’s a well-written piece by Parsley, but the politics and symbolism of the NI football team is not the greatest problem they face. Even if games were played at a new stadium, even if flags and emblems were completely taken out of the equation, it’;s still going to be a team of very limited resources. If I were a young footballer of promise in Derry or Newry, or in Newtownards or Ballymena for that matter, I’d be asking myself ‘What’s the point in turning out for a team that draws with the Faroe Islands?’

  • I dislike it its too much like daylight robbery for me but I think its part of the ‘normalisation’ of a UI, Now instead of NI fading because there could only ever be one George Best or even Pat Jennings,, the failures can be blamed on the south, imo whoever thought it was a good idea was wrong and has provided the unionists with a stick to beat the south and blame us for any and all the north’s football failures.

  • Independent Ulster

    The one sided nature of Ian Parsley’s post is in evidence when he writes that the IFA “incompetently managed to lose the case” and yet then asks “How that case was lost by the IFA is beyond me.”

    The charge that they lost the case could only be sustained if he had shown evidence that the decision was simply down to IFA incompetence or error and is not sustained simply because he does not know or understand what went on.

  • wolfhound

    Parsley has at least addressed the elephant in the room regarding this issue. The fact is that FAI do not actively poach players from Northern Ireland – the players make the call themselves.
    The notion of player poaching is similar to the deluded attitude Republicans adopted when they spent years convincing themselves that the issue was those pesky Brits and that left to their own devices the unionist population would inevitably succumb to the attractions of and Irish Republic.
    I know of very few nationalists who support the Northern Ireland football team, in fact none of my personal acquaintance and I’m a watery middle-class stoop voter.

  • There should B an ALL-Ireland soccer team, as there is one in Cricket and Rugby…

    The IFA seem to persist with holding onto a secterian and racist version for some unknown reason??

    If there was one Irish team and structure it would be able to compete better! Is it an ‘Ulster’ team or a ‘Northern Ireland’ one? As Ulster has nine Counties and the most Northern part of Ireland is in one of those Counties, Donegal….

    I also feel that the British or Loyalist version of a Six County team will never B attractive to the Catholic/Nationalist or Republican community in the North…

    Edward Carson and many other Unionists had no interest in a Six County British State..They preferred an All Ireland under British control…Whatever happened to that particular idealogy?

  • J Kelly

    Its time for the one team to represent Ireland the chances of qualification for the major competitions are becoming slimmer for both teams by the day. The likes of Darren Gibson want to play for the country that the grew up supporting, secondly and more importantly the GFA states that people have the right to live free from sectarian harrassment, can the IFA guarantee this for players or their families at Windsor Park.

  • ayeYerMa

    The GFA should have made the case for the IFA STRONGER, not weaker, and FIFA’s interpretation is completely and utterly wrong. Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was down to IFA incompetence in scoring this own goal.

    If you compare the passport situation before and after the GFA, it’s exactly the same – RoI offers RoI passports on an all-island basis. Therefore post-GFA, why should things now be different from all the preceding decades of IFA/FAI Irish football?

    The cause of confusion is because as part of the GFA the RoI was to drop its territorial claim to NI. Precisely because of this territorial change in the RoI constitution, and as many NI Nationalists already had RoI passports, they inserted the bit in the GFA about the right for everyone to also hold RoI passports on an extra-territorial basis. This has been misinterpreted by many as if it’s some new right or legal change for people in Northern Ireland, when in actual fact legally the only actual change is in constitution of the RoI where the net difference is the removal of claims to NI; the UK stature didn’t change at all (everyone born in NI is a British Citizen by birth, and the UK already allowed you to be a citizen of more than one country).

    It gets even more ridiculous when you look at the FIFA rulebooks, where everything in such situations of dual nationality is based on the principles of territory – precisely the thing that was changed in the IFA’s favour by the GFA.

    A team of legal experts really needs to help the IFA out, look at this in detail, and appeal again.

    PS1: Parsley is also talking rubbish when he starts talking about the “British version of Northern Ireland” – by law there is no other version of Northern Ireland.

    PS2: All this is also not helped by the ambiguous meanings of the words “Ireland” and “Irish”, along with all the various meanings of “British” – would confuse anyone unfamiliar no end, and IMO such imprecise semantics (intentionally used in the GFA) is one of the reasons why we’re pointlessly arguing all the time. IMO Unionists should also have demanded as part of the GFA negotiations for the RoI to stop officially calling itself “Ireland” in recognition that the territorial claim is genuinely dropped – something the FAI are also exploiting with the badge on their latest team strip.

  • ayeYerMa

    … carrying on from that “PS2” of mine above, the RoI stopping calling itself “Ireland” would also make John Hume’s vision of an “agreed Ireland” more of a reality. Ireland is the island and nothing else, with neither state having a monopoly over “Irishness” (as the RoI often tends to arrogantly display).

  • Dec

    IJP is correct on most counts here (aside from his interpretation of FIFA statutes which clearly state in Article 15 that any person holding a permanent nationality that is not dependent on residence is entitled to play for that country – the GFA implicity states that anyone can be Irish, British or both. Whether or not we’re automatically eligible for British citizenship is irrelevant) in that the only cross-community aspect of the NI team is the playing personnel.

    Though if anyone is looking for a cast iron example of the IFA wanting their cake and eating it need look no further than the case of former Canadian U17 international Caolan Lavery and now U21 NI inernational.

  • Neil

    The GFA should have made the case for the IFA STRONGER, not weaker, and FIFA’s interpretation is completely and utterly wrong.

    And CAS don’t forget about them. And Nationalists too. And the FAI.. In fact everyone got it wrong apart from, as usual, NI Unionists, who as so often in the past are the only people who are right. It’s like a lunatic looking around and thinking everyone else is crazy. Guess what bud, when everyone says you’re wrong and the only person who thinks you’re right is you, you might be wrong. Hard for God’s chosen people to hear I know, I put it down to the hangover of having all the power in your little state 40 years ago. You still haven’t got used to not being able to stamp your feet and get your way.

    Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was down to IFA incompetence in scoring this own goal.

    I know, the one thing it couldn’t be is Nationlism being in the right eh? I mean come on they’re Nationalists, how could they be right when compared to the masters of the state. And FIFA. And CAS. Etc.

    The cause of confusion is because as part of the GFA the RoI was to drop its territorial claim to NI. Precisely because of this territorial change in the RoI constitution, and as many NI Nationalists already had RoI passports, they inserted the bit in the GFA about the right for everyone to also hold RoI passports on an extra-territorial basis.

    Biritsh or Irish or both right? Our choice? So do FIFA rules not state that Any person holding the nationality of a country is eligible to play for the representative teams of the Association of his country. The Executive Committee shall decide on the conditions of eligibility for any player who assumes a new nationality and for whom S3 of this article does not apply, or for any player who would, in principle, be eligible to play for the teams of more than one Association due to his nationality.

    So any Irish person can play for Ireland (32 county) no? That’s how I’d read that. It seems to be FIFA’s view to. And CAS. And Nationalism, that FAI etc.

    It gets even more ridiculous when you look at the FIFA rulebooks, where everything in such situations of dual nationality is based on the principles of territory

    I’ve looked. It reads If a player has more than one nationality, or if a player acquires a new nationality, or if the player is eligible to play for several Association teams due to his nationality, the following exceptions apply:
    (a) Up to his 21st birthday, a player may only once request changing the Association for which he is eligible to play international matches. A player may exercise this right to change Associations only if he has not played at “A” international level for his current Association and if at the time of his first full or partial appearance in an international match in an official competition of any other category, he already had such nationalities. Changing Associations is not permitted during the preliminary competition of a FIFA competition, continental competition or Olympic Tournaments if a player has already been fielded in a match of one of these competitions.
    (b) Any player who has already acquired eligibility to play for one Association but has another nationality imposed upon him by a government authority, is also entitled to change associations.This provision is not subject to any age limits.

    Where does it mention territory again? I must have missed that bit. It seems to say that they can decide which association to represent as long as they haven’t represented another association in international ‘A’ matches or are over 21.

    The most telling part is actually part two where a player has a nationalisty imposed on him. That’s actually what you’d prefer, that Britishness be imposed on Irish people (back to the hangover from that intoxicating power Unionism held way back in the 70s), but that would be a contravention of the rules in that the person would still be eligible to play for the nationality which is not imposed on him. I.e. that, again, would only work in our favour.

    A team of legal experts really needs to help the IFA out, look at this in detail, and appeal again.

    LMAO. Your should run for IFA president then. A continuation of the same failed policies of the past is probably ideal for the IFA. Should speed them out of existence all the quicker.

    Again I’d say you’re burying your head in the sand. CAS and FIFA have ruled in favour of nationalists here. Sucks to lose but you did. Whinge about it, bitch about it, but realise: you lost. Simple. Everyone else is on the other sid eon this one and it’s hilarious to me to hear people say ‘we have to sort this out’.

    Get the message will ya: it has been sorted out! Just because it didn’t work out for ya doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Irish people should be allowed to pay for Ireland (32 county). And they are. Justice is done.

    And as pointed out above (by some slightly more realistic Unionists), the IFA brought this on themselves. Gloss over all the sectarianism and anti Nationalist sentiment that the IFA tolerated, gloss over the fact that your ‘stadium’ is in one of the mast hardline Loyalist areas in NI, gloss over the flag and anthem which is acceptable to half the people and you only serve to illustrate that you get what you deserve. If the IFA had started to work on the anti-nationalist support in the 60s you might have more players. You didn’t so reap the consequences.

  • Banjaxed

    If I’m correct, FIFA is based in Switzerland – a country of several languages, nationalities and possibly loyalties. Perhaps we should be grateful they haven’t got a lot of top-class football players,if any. The potential fall-out from the various permutations would be extremely interesting!

  • Neil

    Pip,

    I dislike it its too much like daylight robbery for me but I think its part of the ‘normalisation’ of a UI,

    Is it daylight robbery when NI do it? Or is it only Nationalists in NI who should be deprived of the chance of an international career? Let’s face it, no dads are going to drive their 5 year old kids to Dundalk to play so they might get a chance from the FAI, most of them will play where they live. So should they not play, or play for the IFA? If they play for the IFA would you force them to turn out for NI, even if they’d prefer to get a 5 minute chance playing for their heroes in the Ireland team? It’s a case of fairness. NI select people brought up in England, Scotland etc. Ireland have their fair share of Englishmen on the team through the granny rule too. That’s international football.

    Now instead of NI fading because there could only ever be one George Best or even Pat Jennings,, the failures can be blamed on the south, imo whoever thought it was a good idea was wrong and has provided the unionists with a stick to beat the south and blame us for any and all the north’s football failures.

    They probably will try to blame the south. If that excuse wasn’t available they’d blame someone else and still hate the south.

    It boils down to this, would you prefer to crush the dreams of all the talented young Nationalists in Derry (for example, a couple of miles from the border) and force them to decided they couldn’t turn out for their heroes, for the team they supported all their lives and had to choose between playing for a team that has a strong sectarian history and who they may well feel animosity towards, or choose no international career at all?

    If the price of allowing young people to fulfil their dreams (should they have the talent to do so) is listening to a bit of Unionist whining about a country they generally dislike in the first place – is that too much for you? Or can you take it?

  • George

    Firstly, the case itself was straightforward and yet the IFA managed to blow it. In the same way that a British passport does not qualify me to play for Scotland (because Iwas not born there and nor were any of my parents or grandparents), an Irish passport does not quality me to play for the Republic of Ireland (for the same reason).

    Not as straightforward as Mr Parsley things because he is completely incorrect on that point. A British passport does qualify Mr Parsley to play for Scotland, it’s just that the SFA have decided not to exercise their right to pick players born in Northern Ireland under what what could be described as the Home Nations Gentleman’s Agreement”. This was reached between all the Home Nations but does not change the fact that the qualifying criteria are set by FIFA.

    the goalkeeper he had before that had no connection with Northern Ireland at all (qualifying under the bizarre, and rightly no more current, rule that British citizens born outside the UK could play for any home nation – a daft rule for aforementioned reasons).

    That is neither a daft nor a bizarre rule, that is the actual FIFA rule, namely that a person holding a British passport can play for a British team. The only reason it appears bizarre is because of the aforementioned Gentelman’s Agreement amongst the Home Nations skewing standard FIFA qualifying criteria to facilitate the four national teams in one nation.

    I’m not a fan of the rule change that means players who grow up in Northern Ireland rising through facilities paid for by the IFA now have the right to designate as FAI players at internatinonal level.

    My understanding its that there was no rule change, merely a clarification of the FIFA statutes after the FAI ended their own informal Gentleman’s Agreement with the FAI not to pick Irish citizens from within the IFA’s area.

    The IFA’s mistake was that it asked for the FIFA statutes to implemented, which made clear Irish citizens could play for the Republic regardless of whether they were born.

    Thy should have demanded a rule change.

  • stewart1

    Not sure what you mean Mick about facilities paid for by the IFA?

    Most of their money seems to come from the taxpayers/ratepayers in the North.

    Didn’t Catriona Ruane recently save over 30 IFA jobs by pumping in £3 million of the education budget to save the threatened IFA primary coaches?

    Do local authories not fund a further 20 IFA jobs within the various council aread?

    Then we have ££££ of other free handouts the IFA get on an annual basis.

    I think its fairly clear that its mostly not the IFA’s money, but taxpayers money.

    So if a young lad from Belfast or Derry decides to opt for the Republic at 17, its as much his parents who have been funding him via tax/rates etc.., as it has been the IFA.

    As regards the article, usual unionist mopery. Get over it, players have always been eligible and always will.

  • George

    should read “ended their own informal Gentleman’s Agreement with the IFA”

  • cynic49

    If a player is happier wearing the green of the ROI then good luck to them. If you are not prepared to “die” for the jersey then move on. When the ROI have a big enough panel to put out three squads then a lot of players bums will be sitting on benches while the rest will be at home watching the games on TV. Their choice! The only comment I would make about this new found patriotism is that it might be a bit more honest if it was confessed a bit earlier in the players career. That would save everyone a lot of angst and avoid all those young chappies having to play at all the development levels of representative soccer in an Northern Ireland jersey with their fingers crossed.

  • If we apply Occam’s razor can we not simply agree that when a player, any player, puts on a N Ireland shirt, he doesn’t play very well.

  • Glensman

    This argument that these players are costing the IFA money is disingenuous. The families of these young players are not willing/able to drive them to training sessions in the 26 counties. These families no-doubt pay taxes in the 6 counties… The IFA are funded through the sports council who are in turn funded by tax payers.

    I have grown up my whole life supporting the Ireland soccer team, I have personally witnessed the abuse Nationalists turning out for the 6 counties have suffered. This is not exclusive to soccer. My brother was the subject of sectarian abuse while representing Northern Ireland in another sport at European Championships in the last 2 months. When I picked him up from the boat I told him to go play for the southern team, he says he’s just going to quit because Dublin is too far to travel.

  • Sean Og

    I fear the IFA will not be around much longer as an independent Association.

    The other 200 odd members of FIFA are up in arms about the 4 Associations that represent the UK and the special perks they get. In particular they have it in for the English.

    There will be a move towards a single UK Association during the next 4 years and that will finish off the IFA.

  • PaulT

    Thing is, is the loss of a couple of players to Ireland the most pressing of the NI teams problem, is the arguement so basic that if 2 or 3 players stayed the NI would be winning games for fun?

    Step back and compare the success of both parts of Ireland together and seperately in other sports.

    Not least Cricket Ireland who in recent years lost there TWO best batsmen to England, their reaction CONGRATULATIONS!

    Owen Morgan, Irelands and now Englands STAR started in GAA so double poached.

    The IFA whether by design or accident have created an unanswerable excuse for being quite average, they’ve managed to pit everyone against each other with this arguement.

    Cricket Ireland, a minority sport, from a standing start with next to no money, managed to find and train and fund 11 Irish born cricketers to reach their 2nd World Cup in a row (not to mention all their other wins) and in both World cups supplied a different batsman to play for England.

    The list goes on, NI can produce great golfers, snooker players, boxers, F1 drivers, motorcycalists, geez it never ends.

    Yet, in a sport, one of the few played by everyone, with a great history, there are only a handful of notable players today and very few greats.

    This arguement is a distraction, there are many easier things and more important things to fix.

    Park this question for 5 years, fix everything else and in 5 years NI will approach this question in a much much stronger position.

    Starting point for the IFA.

    The IFA has failed to emulate the success of other sports in Ireland and other FAs.

    Has the IFA contacted any other sporting bodies for advice and help in achieving similiar success in their sport?

    All in all the IFA is like a poor salesperson, missing target every month and whining about the clients who didn’t buy from him.

    The solution is to put him with a successful salesperson to learn how to be successful, alternatively you sack them.

    I think more people are tired of the IFA’s whining than actually sympathise with them.

    So, lets sack em and start again, or get them to learn how to be successful.

  • Mick Fealty

    you may take it I mean ‘rule’ in the very broadest sense of the term George.

    Neil, there is a place for ‘lunatics’ and it’s not on Slugger!

  • Billy Pilgrim

    The argument about problem of IFA resources being used to train up youngsters who later declare for the FAI would be a reasonable one, if youngsters in the north had a choice. But by and large they don’t.

    To solve this, clubs in the north should be allowed to register for some sort of status with the FAI, while remaining IFA-affiliated.

    The point that the IFA is almost entirely taxpayer-dependent is well made.

  • between the bridges

    Mick soccerball? anyone know of a soccer club/team? in case you missed it ifa,fai,uefa,fifa,lfc,mufc,rfc,cfc, etc ..etc the F stands for football… some could say that perhaps this labeling lends an ‘Irish’ view to your ‘British team’ comments?
    As for the stadium there where many reason why owc fans didn’t want it at the maze ranging from the captivity to the fact that fans like to meet up before have a pint and a stroll to the game.
    Re anthem I think a sporting anthem will happen but I dread to think what Phil coulter will come up with…one point you fail to make is regardless of what/any changes are made to the set up there will be those who view anything with the words ‘Northern Ireland’ as British much as they will always view football as soccer…

  • Sean Og

    I think you’re right there are moves to reduce the four teams of the UK to one. I think that might be a good idea but even so I sympathise with the separate nation teams. it will get interesting if Scotland declare independence. Thing is most of Europe share a land border so why should the UK be treated differently? England don’t punch their weight they are worth serious cash to any foreign team they play. if they stayed away the world would still be glued to the English leagues so not that much loss to England…

  • Sean Og

    Blatter’s views on British Olympic team:

    “If you start to put together a combined team for the Olympics, the question will automatically come up that there are four different associations so how can they play in one team,” he said.

    “If this is the case then why the hell do they have four associations and four votes and their own vice-presidency?

    “This will put into question all the privileges that the British associations have been given by the Congress in 1946.”

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Sean Og

    Interesting. Can’t see it happening, though. If the four “home” associations were applying to join now, they’d have to do so as a single unit, but they have a century’s worth of established precedent behind them.

    One could envisage some of the more extraordinary privileges, such as the guaranteed votes and vice-presidency, being increasingly unsustainable, but a FIFA-enforced amalgamation?

    Mr Blatter may fantasize about such a showdown, but that same Mr Blatter has had his winged pretty savagely clipped recently – at the hands of English journalists. Bet he’s wishing they’d given 2018 to England now.

    There is no chance of a FIFA-enforced amalgamation, for the simple reason that England, in particular, is capable of defending itself.

  • Mick Fealty

    It’s association football as opposed to American, Aussie Rules, Gaelic or Rugby football. Or soccer for short.

    We don’t have normative rules on Slugger for such disputed terms. So if you call it football we know what you mean.

  • Sean Og

    “Mr Blatter has had his winged pretty savagely clipped recently – at the hands of English journalists”

    Revenge can be a powerful motivator!

    “England, in particular, is capable of defending itself.

    England were totally isolated when they tried to postpone the vote for FIFA President. Blatter won’t forget that.

    England won’t be too worried anyway. The New UK Association will be England in all but name.

  • Obelisk

    How about this for a scenario…

    1.)Blatter, in revenge for the FA challenging him, succesfully moves against the privileges of the British team and forces the creation of a UK wide team. The IFA, bereft of success, vision and money, disintegrates with players now opting for the the new UKFA or the FAI. The UKFA proves more popular with Catholics than the IFA ever did.

    2.) Alex Salmond in Scotland moves a referendum on independence on the most important of issues, preserving the Scottish Football Team. The Tartan Army turns out in droves and passes it.

  • between the bridges

    So if you call it football we know what you mean.
    indeed…’do you follow faatball?’ is replacing ‘what school did you go to?’

  • Mick Fealty

    Sean Og,

    That would kill off the dispute once and for all. Irish and British Field Hockey Unions have coexisted peacefully for years. But Im with Billy on Blatter’s authority and the precedent problem.

  • between the bridges

    That would kill off the dispute once and for all…

    lol! in what world? if there is a problem now with location, symbols, anthem etc …how do you perceive that there would not be with an all Ireland team? oh I get it, some have to change to accommodate others but others would not have to change to accommodate some?

  • Neil

    if there is a problem now with location, symbols, anthem etc …how do you perceive that there would not be with an all Ireland team? oh I get it, some have to change to accommodate others but others would not have to change to accommodate some?

    Are we to be grateful for some hypothetical change you might possibly make in the future (which the majority of OWC supporters vocally oppose)?

    I would say the FAI would possibly make some accomodations for you, which is a damn sight more than the IFA every did.

  • @Mick Fealty

    “I’m not a fan of the rule change that means players who grow up in Northern Ireland rising through facilities paid for by the IFA now have the right to designate as FAI players at internatinonal level.”

    Have I missed something – what “rule change” was this exactly? Parsley is correct, though not for the reason he thinks. The IFA is responsible because as I remember it there was no changing of the rules. What happened was that the IFA went bitching to FIFA in order to prevent one or two player opting to play for the country of their birth (Ireland). What happened then was that FIFA clarified the matter for the dumb-asses in the IFA by telling them they were looking at the wrong article. This not being good enough for them, they still winged and were offered a compromise which they quickly rejected. What happened then was that the trickle became a flowing torrent which probably wouldn’t have happened if the IFA held their counsel and said nothing. Instead they served only to highlight the issue and make themselves look like sectarian bigots to the Irish population on this island, north and south. Slap it up them is all I can say.

    As for players being raised through “facilities paid for by the IFA” – surely you are trying to take the piss out of us here? If not perhaps you would kindly outline for us what these facilities amount too barring the odd weekend away to play the Faroe Islands and what players you think were advantaged by making use of these facilities. As has already been pointed out the IFA is paid for by the Sports Council which is paid for by us, all of us – unless one of those three men who attend Irish league soccer has a dog called Abramovich.

  • quality

    Neil

    “would possibly make some accomodations”

    Well that would be lovely if they could possibly do something, I’m sure all NI fans will sleep safe.

    The fact is the FAI is every bit as pigheaded and incompetent as the IFA. I genuinely believe they would make absolutely no effort to reach out whatsoever.

    There’s a key difference with the rugby and cricket team, which were always united and draw fans from very different background. Unification of the associations would be seen as another step down the road to unification of the jurisdictions.

    I keep hearing really idealistic notions around the place that if north and south were to unite, then there’d be a world class football team in there somewhere eventually. We’ve seen the last of the Bradys sadly, and there’s no money in either Irish league to fund decent training. More money needs to go into grass roots, there’s the issue.

  • I was under the impression (though from where it was impressed I don’t know) that the reason for the 4 UK associations and the RoI association was because each were able to sustain a working domestic league structure?

    One of those notions that possibly came from nowhere so happy to be told I’m wrong!

  • Is it feasible to suggest that one (UK) association look after 4 separate league structures at once? This doesn’t seem likely to me.

  • Sean Og

    Why not? Most countries have regional leagues.

    One of those notions that possibly came from nowhere

    Sounds about right.

  • lover not a fighter

    Why in the name of Jasus would a Nationalist/Republican/Catholic/ or pretty much anyone that is not dyed in the wool Unionist/Loyalist want to play for Northern Ireland.

    People were crazy in the past but most are not that crazy today.

  • Mark

    People were crazy in the past but most are not that crazy today …..

    From the player’s point of view , it all about the bread . If you’re an average run of the mill mickey mouse type player ( playin for L/Pool as you do ) and your agent tells you that a couple of international caps will increase your wages ……. there’s not much pride left in the international football jersey .

  • ayeYerMa

    Neil wastes an half of the text of his long initial post with the fallacious argument of “Argumentum ad populum”:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_populum , so feel no need to discuss any of that.

    This “identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both” is one of the many linguistic cons in the GFA, included to make the reader implicitly think that this is something new in UK law – it isn’t. If France decided to offer all people born in Northern Ireland French passports by birth then under current UK law people could be equally identify themselves as “French or British or both” and have a right at birth to acquire French citizenship. Doesn’t alter the fact that all people born in Northern Ireland are British Citizens by birth whether they want it or not.

    Neil, then goes on to use another linguistic con used by the RoI in calling itself “Ireland” to pretend that the RoI team isn’t the RoI team. This insidious tactic used by the RoI government ignores the fact that while officially in the constitution there is no territorial claim, it uses language so that in people’s mindset the irredentist claim still exists – this shows up the RoI government to be disingenuous when it comes to that territorial claim.

    Neil also conveniently leaves out the following part of the FIFA statues (http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/generic/01/09/75/14/fifa_statutes_072008_en.pdf , page 62).

    Article 16 Nationality entitling players to represent more than one Association
    1 A Player who, under the terms of art. 15, is eligible to represent
    more than one Association on account of his nationality, may play in an international match for one of these Associations only if, in addition to having the relevant nationality, he fulfils at least one of the following conditions:
    (a) He was born on the TERRITORY of the relevant Association;
    (b) His biological mother or biological father was born on the
    TERRITORY of the relevant Association;
    (c) His grandmother or grandfather was born on the TERRITORY of the relevant Association;
    (d) He has lived continuously on the TERRITORY of the relevant
    Association for at least TWO YEARS.

    As far as I’m aware, not all these NI players opting for the RoI are meeting these criteria. The GFA makes the territory of the FAI more clear.

    A good tactic for the FIA to now use would to be to get the English, Welsh and Scottish FAs on board, as this type of thing sets out to ruin the “gentleman’s agreement” of not poaching players from the other British associations.

    Regarding nationalists being easily offended by the flags and anthems of the place they are born, this has nothing to do with football, nor should any of this blame be placed on football associations or fans merely using official symbolism of the place they are from, nor should such fans show any shame for being proud where they’re from. If Irish Nationalists are so easily offended then they need to take up such issues with the government, and if democracy does not go their way then they need to put-up or shut-up.

  • SwanVsDalton

    @ayeyerMa

    “This “identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both” is one of the many linguistic cons in the GFA”

    ” If Irish Nationalists are so easily offended then they need to take up such issues with the government, and if democracy does not go their way then they need to put-up or shut-up.”

    Haha. Srsly? Democracy did go our way, went a lot of people’s way actually. Or is the GFA too full of ‘linguistic cons’ for you to take on board?

    The democratic will of the people is partly why we’re debating this topic, but, it’s important to note, not the full reason. FIFA eligibility rules and application regarding Ireland have always been the same. Irish nationality allows players born in NI to play for the ROI. The GFA and CAS agreement regarding Daniel Kearns only affirms, and has never changed anything. Sure ROI have been picking NI born players well before the GFA.

    As such article 16 is utterly irrelevant. The only relevant article in the FIFA statutes regarding eligibility is article 15 – nationality is all that is required to line up for a national team. Anyone still confused on this issue should follow-up by reading the CAS ruling regarding Daniel Kearns: http://www.tas-cas.org/d2wfiles/document/4385/5048/0/Award%202071.pdf

    Personally I’m simply of the opinion the IFA and NI fans would be better off continuing to make their team a more appealing choice to all communities in NI, rather than having a collective whinge or attempting to railroad players who have no affinity with Not Brazilians into turning out for them.

  • ayeYerMa

    SwanVsDalton – you’re talking about the GFA as it it’s some holy writ of law – it isn’t – what counts is what we have in legislation. Much of the text in the GFA was meaningless ambiguous waffle designed to make different sides think they were agreeing to different things. If you examine any of the stuff about citizenship from a UK legal context, then it states absolutely nothing significantly new that we didn’t already know and didn’t already legally apply for the preceding decades.

    I’ll repeat again, if nationalists refuse to integrate so much that they’re so easily offended by the flag and anthem of the democratically accepted UK in which they live then they need to seriously consider moving somewhere else.

    Regarding the excuse that “The Single Judge found that said provision applied exclusively to
    players eligible to represent several associations on the basis of one single nationality.” in that CAS ruling, I find that judgement to be an utterly laughable and subjective opinion of this particular judge (wouldn’t be surprised if he was paid off knowing FIFA’s repurtation for corruption). Nowhere in the text of the FIFA statues is that stated that its only the case for a single nationality. The CAS ruling also confuses having a RoI passport with being from FAI territory, which clearly contradicts the situation for every other county. This judgement merely goes against all notions of the fair play found in the “gentleman’s agreement” between the 4 UK associations. The Football Apartheid in Ireland are no gentlemen.

  • Sean Og

    they live then they need to seriously consider moving somewhere else.

    That would solve the problem once and for all!

  • ayeYerMa

    Sean Og, – part of reconciliation is not only recognising the rights and sensitivities of a minority, but for that minority to recognise that it is exactly that – a minority which must strive to INTEGRATE.

  • ayeYerMa

    … part of the problem with a lot of the “peace processing” in NI is that there is this logical fallacy of “the false compromise” that a lot of people fall for (Alliance types like Ian Parsley are particularly vulnerable to falling for this one).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_to_moderation

  • andnowwhat

    yeYerMa (profile) 3 June 2011 at 3:56 pm
    Sean Og, – part of reconciliation is not only recognising the rights and sensitivities of a minority, but for that minority to recognise that it is exactly that – a minority which must strive to INTEGRATE.

    Why?

    Integrate in to what BTW? There’s nothing to integrate in to.

  • Chris Donnelly

    I’m not a fan of the rule change that means players who grow up in Northern Ireland rising through facilities paid for by the IFA now have the right to designate as FAI players at internatinonal level. Somehow the GFA got enrolled to convince FIFA that it was okay because of the Belfast Agreement.

    Mick
    It has been a feature of this debate from the outset that those peddling the IFA line have misinterpreted not only FIFA’s position (re the articles) but also the motivating factors of those involved.

    There never was a ‘rule change’ and the issue of northern born Irish citizens representing the Republic of Ireland predates the Good Friday Agreement- something which newly appointed FIFA Vice President, Jim Boyce, happily concedes.

    The complaint of players availing of IFA resources would be more credible were it not for the fact that during the recent 5-0 Aviva all-Ireland encounter, the only player on the pitch to avail of one team’s underage structures before switching to represent the other was Northern Ireland’s Jonny Gorman.

    How’s that for irony?

    And, don’t forget, the presence of former England youth player Oliver Norwood on the Northern Ireland team during the second half.

    International football is full of such stories, and it is because of this global context that FIFA will continue to ignore the mopeish bleating of the Windsor brigade.

  • between the bridges

    And ‘There’s nothing to integrate in to….’
    oh I don’t know perhaps you could suddenly start supporting English/Scottish/British teams…then progress on to voting terrorists in to britishpowersharing ..And finish up with lectures on how it’s really all our own fault that some will not want to play for a different shade of green shirt…..ie the soccerball british team.

  • andnowwhat

    Personally I prefer the term “spideball”

  • Republic of Connaught

    Is this argument still going on?

    Let the FAI and IFA sort out some kind of financial remuneration for any player that has come through the IFA system up to the age of 18 or 21. That’s as fair as the FAI need to be.

    Other than that the northern players are clearly entitled to decide for themselves who they want to play for – an Ulster 11 or an Ireland 11.

  • SwanVsDalton

    @ayeyerMa

    It’s funny, if you replaced the word ‘citizenship’ with nationality and the words ‘UK legal context’ with ‘FIFA/CAS legal context’ in your comment, then you’d have the exact situation with the application of eligibility rules regards Ireland. There is nothing significantly new or startling about them either, it’s just a bunch of keyboard warriors have decided to start bashing away in rabid anger because they lost a few decent players recently.

    The GFA isn’t a writ of law, but it affirmed NI born citizens the right to Irish nationality. That’s all that is important regards the application of FIFA’s eligbility rules.
    Seems like you didn’t read the CAS document properly either, or your phrasing isn’t very clear – ‘Single Judge’ refers to the original decision taken by FIFA in the case of Daniel Kearns, before the IFA went atomic and took it to CAS. The arbitration panel in this case was comprised of four European lawyers (says who they are on the document at the beginning and the end). But that’s alright, I’m sure FIFA bought them out too…

    Anyway the point regarding statutes is moot since CAS affirmed FIFA’s interpretation and application of their own rules with this ruling.

    As for the passport, I presume you’re referring to the passage referring to the compromise proposed by FIFA: “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 [FAI] or the [IFA]…”

    Fairly clear the CAS ruling makes no such statement regarding territory. Again – not sure if you read it.

    If you were not referring specifically to that passage, but just vaguely suggesting it, you’re way off – the CAS ruling only confirms that Kearns et al have a birthright to Irish nationality and their dual nationality means Article 15 of statutes is sufficient for him and others to play for ROI.

    Your integration nonsense aside, I’d suggest bandying around preposterous words like ‘apartheid’ when it comes to football is only likely to alienate the nationalist community further from the NI team rather than encourage them to choose OWC.

  • ayeYerMa

    andnowwhat, a big part of integration is not going out of your way to be offended by the symbolism of the place you live, making an effort to take part in the society in which you live, and not going out of your way to rub-up other members of the society in which you live by exploiting their generosity and then throwing it back in their face by acting as a traitor.

  • ayeYerMa

    The arguments that people like Chris repeat of “former England youth player Oliver Norwood on the Northern Ireland team during the second half” are also a red herring.

    By article 16, any English born player that gets to play for Northern Ireland will have to have had a parent/grandparent born in Northern Ireland or lived in Northern Ireland for at least 2 years. This is despite the fact that the English player will have the exact same Citizenship and everyone in Northern Ireland. Yet here we have the Republic (with a completely separate citizenship) being able to take players from Northern Ireland without applying these article 16 conditions.

    The argument is not whether or not NI players with RoI passports are permitted play for the RoI – it’s the fact that this article 16 isn’t being applied fairly and does not require players from Northern Ireland wishing to play for the Republic to have had a parent/grandparent born in the Republic or have lived in the Republic for 2 years (as would be the case if NI born players wished to play for England, Scotland or Wales despite also having entitlement to the same citizenship of England, Scotland or Wales).

    IFA’s interests would be best served on this issue by working together with the English, Scottish and Welsh FAs to highlight the complete lack of fair play in this arrangement. It might even end up inadvertently acting as a catalyst to the formation of a UK team…

    SwanVsDalton, I was well aware that this was an appeal but, this all rests on the extremely dubious and obscure unwritten arbitrary judgement not to apply article 16 by the original judge. Those appeal lawyers are unlikely to argue with something that is open to such vague judgements such as this, as they won’t want to rock the boat. The rules are simply unfair if they’re open to such arbitrary interpretation, but that’s the Swiss for you – from personal experience the Swiss like their authority and rules and are difficult people when it comes to adjusting such precious rules, even when such rules are completely and utterly illogical (have quite a few personal anecdotes on that…).

  • ayeYerMa

    It is also interesting that in the CAS document linked above, it states that that on 7 March 2007:

    “In view of this finding, the FIFA Legal Committee invited the FAI
    voluntarily to confine itself to selecting for its association teams Northern
    Irish players who meet one of the following requirements: a) the player was
    born in the Republic of Ireland, b) his biological mother or father was born
    in the Republic of Ireland, c) his grandmother or grandfather was born in the
    Republic of Ireland, or d) he has lived continuously, for at least two years,
    in the Republic of Ireland.”

    It then states “On 5 November 2007, FIFA informed the IFA that the FAI did not accept
    its proposal of 7 March 2007.”

    The absolute arrogance of the FAI in rejecting this compromise solution from FIFA shows that the FAI are not interested in playing fair and are only looking out for their own selfish interests.

    FAI = Football APARTHEID in Ireland

  • Zig70

    I’d like my kids to support NI football team, and they do. When NI play ROI then it’s up to themselves who to support. They support Ulster and have been to Ravenhill. Not sure I’d take them to Windsor. When I went it was the same feeling you got coming up from the country to Belfast and you walk into an area bedecked in red,white and blue. To be fair you get a similar feeling walking into an area green, white and gold, the similarity is you are likely to get asked your religion and likely to get a beating anyway for being a stranger. The point is Windsor shouts of one side which is added to by the Ulster banner and God save the queen. My boys play soccer for a local Presbyterian team, religion and nationality doesn’t come into it but like any young gael I’m sure a few outings at Windsor would start them wondering if they hadn’t walked into the wrong place.

  • jonno99

    The FAI were right to reject the compromise. Irish players from Derry, Belfast, Armagh or wherever in the North would at a stroke lose their birthright as Irish citizens to represent Ireland. The ROI team is a de facto all Ireland team because it rightly selects eligible players across all 32 counties, irrespective of creed. No apartheid there.

    The NI team is by definition a British/northern irish/unionist team representing a divided part of the United Kingdom in the NE of Ireland. Some nationalists can over look that fact and play for NI for the sake of advancing their careers perhaps? And/or because they just ignore the politics? And/or are not likely to be selected for the ROI. It’s their choice.

  • SwanVsDalton

    @ayeyerMa

    Not sure if you’re still being selective or you didn’t read it – but did ye see the bit after in CAS when the IFA rejected the compromise, accepted by the FAI, that the eligibility gate swing both ways and allow NI the option to pick southern born players? I’m sure you’re response will likely be of the high-roading ‘well that’s hardly right!’ variety though I’m sure the IFA’s rejection was borne more out of minnowism from the fact they hadn’t a hope in hell of getting many more players declaring for them than they already do. But, hey, you can’t say the FAI arn’t willing to compromise – and quite why they would compromise about the ludicrous notion of Irish people being denied the right to play for the ROI is beyond me…

    Seriously this apartheid stuff is embarrassingly hysterical. And NI fans wonder why nationalist players don’t want to turn out for them?

  • ayeYerMa

    @SwanVsDalton

    The compromise rejected by the FAI was the fairest one that from a NI perspective put the Republic on equal footing with England, Scotland and Wales. It was one that respected the boundaries of each association, but also allowed players to play for any.

    The FAI supported one that gives the Republic preferential treatment, and one that still aggressively encourages Football APARTHEID in Ireland by promoting sectarian division in Northern Ireland instead of encouraging integration.

  • ayeYerMa

    @jono99 – the compromise rejected by the FAI wouldn’t have prevented people with Irish passports to play for the other Irish team. It would have put them on a level playing field as people with British passports wanting to play for other British teams.

    The Northern Ireland team is no more “unionist” than Northern Ireland is itself.

  • Neil

    The FAI supported one that gives the Republic preferential treatment, and one that still aggressively encourages Football APARTHEID in Ireland by promoting sectarian division in Northern Ireland instead of encouraging integration.

    Encouraging integration, that’s a good one. You encourage integration by forcing kids into a national team which is not their nation, and throwing in a generous measure of no surrendering in the lovely Loyalist ground in the Loyalist Village with the Loyalist flags and (bizarrely) English anthem.

    You’d ‘integrate’ people all right, or maybe assimilate would be a better word. Force them to be British! They’re not Irish! They might say they are, they might have the right to be, and they might be recognised as such by the western world, but NI Unionists know best!

    LOL, deal with it, this round, you lose. Your opinion is every bit as ingrained as ours, the highest courts in sport have made their rulings and you lost. All the whingeing is just making us feel even better about things as they stand.

    With a bit of luck FIFA will deal with the ridiculous notion of have 4 British teams (as you point out all 4 ‘nations’ holding the same passport) with 4 votes. I feel the appetite is there now in FIFA to give England a digging and that would be one option for them. Then bye, bye sectarian IFA and NI team. Who knows eh? Maybe we’re on a roll.

    That aside, I just want to repeat as so many don’t get it. You lost. simple.

  • Hopping The Border

    AyeYerMa-

    Your preoccupation with “integration” is essentially one of “You are British and that is it, now do what we say and, ahem, integrate”.

    You obviously have no appreciation or understanding of the fact that a large proportion of the NI population see themselves as British and Irish and a significant proportion see themselves as Irish only.

  • jonno99

    @ ayeYerMa

    i the compromise rejected by the FAI wouldn’t have prevented people with Irish passports to play for the other Irish team

    You mean it wouldn’t stop them from playing for NI?
    A team they don’t want to pay for in the first place.

    i It would have put them on a level playing field as people with British passports wanting to play for other British teams.

    In effect the compromise the FAI rejected ensured that northern nationalists remained eligible for selection for the ROI team.

    i The Northern Ireland team is no more “unionist” than Northern Ireland is itself.

    The NI team represents by its very existence a unionist construct and thereby is by definition unionist.

    Some of the NI players themselves may not be unionists but they play for a team that represents a unionist state in Ireland. You only have to go to Windsor Park to recognise that fact.

  • between the bridges

    nail.. The FAI aggressively encourages Football APARTHEID in Ireland by promoting sectarian division in Northern Ireland instead of encouraging integration.

    fixed that for you…

  • jonno99

    A NI football team represents a British state in Ireland. It’s therefore by design confined to select almost exclusively from the unionist community.

    It’s the fact we have two Ireland teams which continues to create further division in NI, as players from the North elect to represent the ROI. Cosmetic changes, which at first sight make playing for NI more palatable for nationalists, cannot hide the fact it represents a British state in Ireland.

    Nationalists by definition do not subscribe to the partitionist unionist entity known as Northern Ireland. Why then would they want to, or be forced to, represent it?

    An All Ireland team on the other hand would, if handled sensitively, encourage integration.

  • ayeYerMa

    All the nationalist posters here are a laugh. The IFA IS the Irish team, with the FAI causing the partition in the first place!!

    The posts here show how deranged and detached from reality many Slugger nationalists are, and why we in Northern Ireland we have such a mess in our society. This has nothing to do with football, more how petty and pathetic nationalists are – they continue their same behaviour to refuse to integrate with their neighbours and then have the gall to wonder why years ago the state didn’t represent their interests. EVERYONE in Northern Ireland is British and has been for 200 years, whether they like it or not. Yes, everyone in Northern IRELAND is also Irish too, but not in the sense of the word as it has been hijacked by the RoI. The Northern Ireland team merely represents the REALITY of Northern Ireland as it is today, along with ALL elements of society that there are here.

    Time for Northern nationalists to stop living in la la land and stop pretending that Southern Ireland is somehow “Ireland” – lads, it isn’t. You aren’t from the south – the only Ireland is the whole island, and the reality is that both of the teams are “partitionist”. By supporting the obnoxious FAI over the team that actually represents where you are from you’re doing nothing but increasing division in NI and driving your ideal of this “United Ireland” further and further away. Ireland will not be united if Northern Ireland isn’t united. Northern Ireland ALWAYS has been Irish (the clue is in that it’s called Northern IRELAND). Stop defining this “Irish Nation” as the partitionist state to the south of the border and realise that the true Ireland is the north + the south and no line on the map will ever make a difference to that.

  • jonno99

    “the true Ireland is the north + the south and no line on the map will ever make a difference to that.”

    You have the makings of a nationalist!

    Your opinion reads like a mantra for an All Ireland team that can encompass all the nuances of identity on this island.

    “EVERYONE in Northern Ireland is British and has been for 200 years, whether they like it or not”

    You can believe that if you want to but it’s not the issue. Everyone in Ireland is Irish and have been since Jesus was a boy. That being so why have a separate NI team? We’re all Irish after all.

  • An Ceide

    How much money has been wasted on this whole debacle?, the young lad just wants to play for his country, surely the smart men in suits can understand that or would they rather he suffered the same ill treatment Neil Lennon suffered.

    They should have pushed to build the proposed new stadium at the maze so they could imprison young nationalists in a team they did not want to represent, kind of fitting.

  • andnowwhat

    An Ceide

    As I understand it, Linfield get a tidy sum for leasing Windsor to the NI team.

    Make of that what you will.

  • Banjaxed

    If ever there was an example of a couple of bald men arguing over a comb, this debate tops the list. Both the NI team and the ROI team are CRAP, as is the local Irish League and League of Ireland. Get over it. Watch the English Premier League and you can talk football.

    And memo to Radio Ulster: Can we have our station back, please? Those three supporters who cheer at every live match broadcast on Saturday afternoons, no matter who’s playing? – I’m beginning to call them by their first names.

  • Blissett

    I think an All-Ireland team would be the ideal, however, I can understand that thats unlikely and, as some one observed, the many years of tradition which accompany cricket and rugby does not exist, so a sporting ‘re-unification’ as it were, would take on a certain significance, and would likely turn people from a unionist background off.

    However, for the life of me, I cannot understand why it would be seen as desireable to compel players to play for a team, in either a political or a sporting sense, with which they feel no affinity. Identity is a deeply contested thing here, I think to compel players to play for the north would be a very blunt instrument.

    It might, however, be politic for the FAI to offer a gentlemen’s agreement not to deliberately seek out players for the north, but i think it should be out of the question to stop players who identify as irish primarily and with the southern team, playing for them

  • otto

    We should be openly discussing a cut down version of the highly succesful (for a smallish state) portugese league. Two all-Ireland 12 team leagues, then four provincial 12 team leagues. Portugal’s leagues have 16 teams each but they’ve more people and 12 allows the split we probably need for a smaller top tier. Reserve teams would play in provincial leagues so you’d always have your team playing locally if travel is an issue.

    All managed by a new Irish Football Federation based at the shiny new Aviva Stadium.

    That’s probably 3-4 teams from NI in the premiership, 2-3 of which might consistently make the top half of the split and potential european competition which sounds about right given we’ve managed reasonable successs with a single Ulster rugby team. East Belfast deserves something of the quality of the proposed Blanchflower Stadium. We need to come up with a system that provides the economies and following to make that viable. Whether that still allows for a separate NI side is a much less important question.

  • An Ceide

    Thats a great idea otto, but alas you would have to shift the boys in suits from both federations who would fear for their jobs, self preservation comes before the football in their minds.

  • Independent Ulster

    Blissett,

    You say

    ‘I think an All-Ireland team would be the ideal’

    Do you think theFAI and the Southern players (those not born In Britian) would be happy to stand for the British National Anthem and play under the Union flag for those games played in Northern Ireland or those games played away from home or would it be like the rugby where only the Southern anthem gets played?

  • andnowwhat

    I see no reason why David Holmes can’t do a mix of GSTQ and the Soldier’s song to be played at matches.

  • If the Republic do qualify this time for the Euro finals, it will, in the process expose the entrenched bigotry that goes on here. The pages of forums and newspapers will be filled with complaints about BBC/UTV giving coverage to this ‘foreign team’ The equivalent of what in football is known as a ‘six pointer’ [our ‘zero sum game]. A double whammy of RoI getting to finals as NI is on the way out
    All that anxiety is self inflicted by spite at ‘themmuns getting ivrything while we get nathin”
    This is easilyavoided by just being happy to let each other’s teaMS ENJOY THEIR DAY IN THE SUN. bUT WHEN WILL THAT COME ABOUT IN ni? i’M NOT HOLDING MY BREATH.

  • Sorry, caps accidently pressed at the end.

  • Obelisk

    You know this is just flogging a dead horse now.

    It’s over and done with. The rules are clarified. It wasn’t perfect in terms of community relations but it worked out the way Nationalists wanted, and any side effect to the Northern Ireland team are regrettable.

    I’m sure it’ll flare up from time to time as this or that commentator complains about it, and there will be the usual back and forth on the net or in the terraces over it, but it is settled. Done with.

  • otto

    “I see no reason why David Holmes can’t do a mix of GSTQ and the Soldier’s song to be played at matches.”

    If we were Welsh or had any soul we’d use “Be Thou My Vision” as our all-Irish sporting anthem – english and Irish versions.

    It’s got Victory and Swords and Breastplates and a hair raising tune and EVERYTHING

    Already known worldwide and beats the pants off both World In Union and Pavarotti (IMHO).

  • Speranza-II

    Irish Premier League-Imagine-

    1)SHAMROCK ROVERS
    2)Bohs
    3)Shels
    4)Cliftonville
    5)Derry
    6)Glenavon
    7)Lisburn Distillery
    8)Bangor
    9)Portadown
    10)Crusaders
    11)Glentoran
    12)Coleraine
    13)Bray Wanderers
    14)Ards
    15)Omagh
    16)St Pats
    17)Newry Town
    18)Galway
    19)Wexford Youths
    20)Linfield

    Division 1

    1)Limerick
    2)Cork City

    An all-Island Soccer League and the Republic could pick players from the 32 counties and those living in Ulster could play as Ulster rather than The Republic.

  • Lionel Hutz

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/13769040.stm

    I would just like to say that as fan who has declared his allegience to the Republic of Ireland (Ireland, if you will), I wish Mr Bruce all the best whatever he may choose to do.

    Now we can we please have Shane Ferguson

  • As this develops, the Republic of Ireland may become an All-Ireland team – in any case the position of Wales, England, Northern Ireland is privileged – these teams are part of one self-governing state which has four teams – all others, big or small, are confined to one. Mre thoughts here : http://tomasoflatharta.com/2011/06/15/irish-soccer-players-won%E2%80%99t-play-for-prodestan-aka-northern-ireland-%E2%80%93-but-will-tog-out-for-trapattoni%E2%80%99s-boys-in-green-%E2%80%93-let%E2%80%99s-discuss-the-elephant-in-the-room/#more-464