Wednesday, December 12, 2007

FIFA rules may lead to loss of Roman Catholic players in NI team

Neil Lennon is Roman Catholic and plays for the predominantly-Catholic Celtic. He was due to captain his Northern Ireland team for the first time as they met Cyprus, but was forced to withdraw after a reported death threat from a paramilitary group. Northern Ireland Security Minister Jane Kennedy said: "A handful of sectarian bigots have disgraced Northern Ireland in the eyes of the world by ensuring that the captain of the Northern Ireland football team cannot play in an international game."

Yet the irony is that FIFA’s new eligibility guidelines may lead to precisely the sort of sectarian abuse which Mr Lennon has suffered, with Roman Catholics opting to play for the Republic of Ireland football team and Protestants opting for Northern Ireland.

Speaking at Stormont, Sports Minister Edwin Poots MLA said that ‘throughout the darkest days of the troubles, the Northern Ireland team had been made up of players from across the political and religious divides’. But under FIFA plans, any player born in Northern Ireland may play for the Republic, and vice versa. There is a united-Ireland approach over which Sinn Fein will doubtless rejoice, but the right for anyone born on the island to play for either jurisdiction will dismantle the very mechanism which has served the Northern Ireland team so well.

It is the contention of the Irish Football Association that players born in Northern Ireland should play international football for Northern Ireland. And Cranmer favours this proposal, eschewing this ‘free movement of people’ nonsense which was only ever designed as a mechanism for the destruction of national identity and to further political integration with the elimination of the nation state. But Cranmer would go further, and prohibit the national team from being managed by foreigners, for it would be an undoubted irony and ultimate shame the day we see England managed by a German. Where would his heart be? To whom would his superior allegiance be? And even if one could be sure of a transplanted patriotism (which is doubtful), the notion that England could only win when managed by a German irks somewhat.

But doubtless all this conjecture is ‘racist’. So let us stick with Mr Poots and talk of Protestant and Catholic bigotry, for it is much safer ground…

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"He was due to captain his Northern Ireland team for the first time as they met Cyprus, but was forced to withdraw after a reported death threat from a paramilitary group. Northern Ireland Security Minister Jane Kennedy said a handful of sectarian bigots ‘have disgraced Northern Ireland in the eyes of the world by ensuring that the captain of the Northern Ireland football team cannot play in an international game'"

The fact that Mr Lennon received death threats was doubtful! and just for your information Mr Lennon was rubbish and had little interest in playing for Northern Ireland anyway so it was good riddens to him.
Also might i add if an RC's desire is not for Northern Ireland then they would be better in the free state team. If they are not loyal to Northern Ireland then whats the point in having a half hearted bigot in the team who makes little effort! just like Mr Lennon.

Who by the way is more bigotted than many and low and behold hes a .....Roman Catholic? Surely they can not be bigots????

12 December 2007 at 08:59  
Anonymous mickey said...

No such problem with the rugby, your Grace. A far superior game, with an Irish team that is supported by all (including a gent in his 90s who I know travels down from the North to Dublin for the matches whenever he can).

12 December 2007 at 15:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Poots is baffled at the nationalists (Sinn Fein/IRA & SDLP)welcome of this Fifa ruling, saying that they have signed up to a shared future(in the Belfast Agreement). What a deluded deceived individual he is!! Once they are in the majority will they want to share power with his DUPed party? I ask you DOOOH!!

12 December 2007 at 15:51  
Anonymous Dafydd said...

Not just rugby of course: the Royal Irish Regiment and the Church of Ireland disregard the border too.

Pob hwyl,

Dafydd.

12 December 2007 at 16:04  
Anonymous nedsherry said...

O-Level Politics

There have been many centuries of conflict between members of the same race in Britain, caused by relatively minor differences in the same religion. Predict what will happen if mass immigration by members of a different race introduces a different religion long famous for its aggressive and war-like nature.

Time allowed: 2.5 seconds.

12 December 2007 at 16:13  
Anonymous mickey said...

On matters football related, your Grace may be intrigued to read the following item in today's online Telegraph - "Inter Milan football strip 'offends Muslims'. "

A large (medicinal) sherry may be required afterwards, however!

12 December 2007 at 17:35  
Blogger O'Neill said...

Your Grace
No such problem with the rugby, your Grace. A far superior game, with an Irish team that is supported by all (including a gent in his 90s who I know travels down from the North to Dublin for the matches whenever he can).

Just to clarify, this is unfortunately no longer the case. The IRFU this year finally deigned to play a friendly match against Italy in the island's second city, Belfast.

They, however, classified the match as an "away" fixture for Ireland to ensure that our Northern Ireland's anthem and flag would not be sung and flown officially.

For years, Your Grace, those of us of a Unionist persuasion have supported an Ireland team which played in a city which was not ours (Dublin) under a flag (the Irish tricolour) and an anthem (The Soldiers' Song) which was also not ours. We did so out of our respect and courtesy for the other main tradition on our shared island.
We were not granted the same respect and courtesy by our Southern friends when they finally decided to venture north this year and as a result many of us in Ulster will no longer this pretense of a "shared" Irish Team.

12 December 2007 at 18:42  
Blogger O'Neill said...

Your Grace.
Regarding the main topic of your post (and my humble apologies for another lengthy comment), if this ruling goes through, it will succeed in creating two teams in Ireland which are based solely on "Community background" (polite Ulster-speak for "Religion").

I support a team (Northern Ireland) which contains players of all and no religious backgrounds. We select players solely on footballing ability, not on which church they attend or which school they studied at. We run a programme (Football for All) which is our attempt to make, well, football available to all irrespective of religion, class or ethnic background.

The Football Association of the Republic (the FAI)however has specifically targeted players from one community in Northern Ireland only; they are making their decisions on which players they approach from NI on grounds other than footballing ability.

We may well lose this decision but at least we will have the satisfaction of knowing that our association is not employing a sectarian selection policy.

12 December 2007 at 18:51  
Anonymous Igor Stravinsky said...

I'm always amused by white people throwing the term 'racist' at each other. Please, please, examine the root word in 'racist.' You'll see that it's 'race.' All of the natives of the British Isles are the same race.

But the word 'racist' is such a heavy club that people can't resist seizing it when they want to do some serious damage. Nothing clears out a room like someone yelling 'racist.'

It's a shame that white people use this epithet against each other because it trivializes the hurt and shame of bona fide racism.

13 December 2007 at 05:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The fact that Mr Lennon received death threats was doubtful! and just for your information Mr Lennon was rubbish and had little interest in playing for Northern Ireland anyway so it was good riddens to him."

haha! Are you deluded? The threats were so real that he required police protection.

Rubbish and had little interest?!?!? Are you daft? He often said captaining N.Ireland was a dream of his.

I'm a life long Northern Irish fan and Catholic! I stopped going to games after Lennon was jeered every time he touched the ball. How the hell can a player be inspired to play when his own fans boo him? And why was he booed? Cos he said he'd like an all ireland football team - just like the rugby team! What's wrong with that?

Also, he gave us a couple of goals and great performances! Take of the blinkers you bigot!

31 March 2009 at 12:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was mentioned in your comment piece 'Catholics will play for the Republic and Protestants for N I. As a Southern Protestant. may I point out that we have little truck with the Orange bigots and regard ourselves as Irishmen and women. Though few in number we are proud of the role Protestants have played in the attempts to free our country from foreign rule and should a Protestant be chosen for the national team I feel sure he would be proud to represent the Republic!

12 May 2011 at 08:49  

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