Friday, February 26, 2010

IFA Looking to End All Ireland Eligibility

The IFA, that's the Irish Football Association the governing body for Northern Ireland, is going to the Court of Arbitration in Sport(CAS) to try and stop a player drain to the Republic of Ireland

The recent case of Everton's Shane Duffy would not have been stoppable under the grounds that the IFA are seeking. Duffy who had played under 21 games for Northern Ireland was included in the republic's full squad last year. He like myself though would qualify under the FIFA ruling that you can represent the country of birth of yourself, your parents or any of your grandparents. Under that rule I would have qualified for either even though the then non-existent border only ran through the River Foyle less than 100 yards away from where my grandmother was born.

It would though have affected the cases of Manchester United's Darron Gibson and Portsmouth's Marc Wilson who have also switched to the southern team in recent years. All of their qualifying ancestors were Northern Irish born. It does however have an impact on those that claim all 32 counties of Ireland are the one as opposed to the twenty-six to six split that was imposed in 1922.

However, under the letter of FIFA's rule the IFA do have a case to stand on. The two are recognised as separate organisations under birth FIFA and UEFA and therefore for the purposes of football are recognised as separate states. There have in the past been all sorts of geopolitical recognitions and agreements beyond the boundaries on both sides to be inclusive of those that wish to recognise with one country or the other or both.

Strangely it is a case of the political football of Northern Irish politics actually having an impact on football. Who ever said such phrases and 'political football' was merely a euphemism?

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails