Tuesday, March 28, 2006


IFA opposes Irish passports!

A shamblesI was disappointed but not at all surprised to hear the British Irish Football Association confirm that NI players are requested to have a British passport when playing abroad.

I am pleased however to hear that Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern has raised the matter with European fooball authorities.

Mr Ahern quite rightly said players should be allowed to use a British or an Irish passport. However, the chief executive of the IFA, Howard Wells, said having British papers made life simpler for NI teams playing away from home:

"There is not a problem about players travelling on either passport.

"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."

What a bunch of baloney this is! Here's a whacky suggestion Mr Wells - if they don't understand the differences...EXPLAIN IT TO THEM.

Mr Ahern meanwhile stated:

"We have written to Uefa asking them to clarify the position, but also pointing out to them the whole issue that was laid down in the Good Friday Agreement.

"People born after a certain time on the entire island of Ireland can have British or Irish passports - or indeed both.

"There are some people who wish to produce their Irish passport in this respect."

Indeed they do, Mr Ahern. Shame on the IFA for once again politicising football. They are a shambles.

No tricolours about?

Football for all, eh?

I have many times called on northern nationalist supporters and players alike to boycott the NI football team and I maintain that position without a doubt in light of this pathetic requirement to have a British passport.

The IFA don't give a rat's ass about the Irish identity in NI and the organisation could have done so much more to tackle the rampant bigotry that infests football north of the border. Yet they do not.

The IFA are a disgrace to football and a disgrace to cross-community relations. Shame on them.


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