Monday, December 12, 2005


Scrap 'God Save The Queen' - Report

Paul over at The N.Irish Magyar drew my attention to this article from Henry McDonald in The Observer which details a report commissioned by the IFA, and written by the think tank Democratic Dialogue, on the future of football in the North.

The 39-page document argues that 'God Save the Queen' should be replaced with a more neutral 'national' anthem at Windsor Park.

'The IFA should consider a public competition to see if a more widely acceptable anthem can be found to the playing of "God Save the Queen", in line with practice in Scotland and Wales,' the authors of the report suggest.

Unsurprisingly, in the report, Catholic football fans cite the playing of the UK national anthem as one of the reasons why they don't travel to Windsor Park for NI internationals.

The report also recommends ending the ban on Sunday soccer and the report urges the government to do more to combat intolerance in sport. It calls for the Football Offences Act to be extended to Ireland's north, allowing anyone found guilty of singing sectarian songs to be prosecuted.

In the report Jim Rainey, of the Amalgamation of Northern Ireland Supporters' clubs, argues that ground stewards needed 'legislative backing' to confront those singing sectarian and racist songs.

I must say I salute the work of this think tank Democratic Dialogue. Visitors to United Irelander will be well aware that I have repeatedly criticised the fact that England's national anthem is played at NI football games and that I have also repeatedly criticised the sectarianism evident amongst NI fans.

This report has done well. Kudos to all concerned.


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