This is an outrage.
FIFA, the world's governing football body, have ruled that NI players must hold British passports if they are to represent the team.
Despite representations made to FIFA by Irish Foreign Affairs minister Dermot Ahern, the ruling means players holding only Irish passports would not be able to turn out for Lawrie Sanchez's side, who are currently on tour in America.
FIFA's stupid stance is at odds with the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, which granted the people of Ireland's north the right to dual Irish and British nationality.
FIFA's ruling is an attempt to clear up problems for match commissioners (who apparently have the brain capacity of a donkey's arse), who have to establish the nationality of participants.
The Irish Football Association (IFA) today released a statement detailing the clarification they have received from FIFA "in the light of the rather exceptional circumstances that exist in Northern Ireland":
"FIFA sees no alternative but to require players to hold the passport of the national association they are seeking to represent in order to allow the match commissioner to verify their eligibility.".
"The fact that a player holds an Irish Republic passport does not demonstrate conclusively, that he or she is eligible to play for Northern Ireland."
FIFA are idiots then.
Are we seriously supposed to believe that FIFA are so dense that they can't comprehend the fact that people from Northern IRELAND might actually have IRISH passports?
There's something very dodgy about this. I'm sure the IFA could have done a better job in clarifying this matter for FIFA. I imagine secretly, the IFA are happy about this ruling.
I have previously urged all nationalist players to boycott the NI team on the grounds that it does not cater to the nationalist community whatsoever. This ruling by FIFA vindicates this belief of mine.
And so much for the guff we here about the GAA not being representative towards unionists. At least they don't require unionists to abandon their citizenship rights!
This is a slap in the face towards Irish nationalists, make no mistake about it. Shame on those involved.