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Kansas City's Irish Festivals, Music, Pubs & Events

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Irish and British Passports: FIFA Go Mad

Much more important to Northen Irish football than losing to Romania in the Midwest,is FIFA's announcement that to play for Northern Ireland you must be in possession of a British Passport. Let me just think off the top of my head of some reasons why this is ludicrous:

  • A passport is for travel; it is not necessarily a document declaring exclusive nationality

  • In the citizen sense, there are no countries called England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with matching passports. All are part of a single country that qualify for British passports.

  • You can hold a British passport and be not from Northern Ireland i.e. holding that passport proves you may be from Northen Ireland - or Wales, or England or Scotland.

  • People from Northern Ireland are legally eligible for both Irish and British passports

  • Many players who have played for the Republic of Ireland have held British passports

  • Many players who have played for Spain/Italy/Portugal have held Argentinian/Uruguayan/Brazilian passports

  • Requiring players to hold passports of the nation they represent (even if the nation is actually four distinct footballing nations) goes directly against the Good Friday Agreement and makes Northern Ireland exclusively a British team instead of the dual-cultural British-Irish team it has historically been, and is in reality.

What? Well, it means only Protestants are likely to play for Northern Ireland, with Catholics from the six counties opting for the Republic. Now this has been happening anyway for a few years due to sectarianism at Windsor Park but the IFA were making progress in fixing this.

FIFA has acknowledged - for it has no practical choice - that the four parts of the UK give you only one passport, but it's unable to cope with the one part of Ireland giving you two passports.

Wow! Who would have thought that the politicians of Northern Ireland are actually ahead of anybody on the world stage, even if it just footballing bureaucrats. Simplistic madness, and a dodgy precedent if it sticks - which I doubt.

See Also:
    • Irish Lose: O-Dear, O-dear, O-dear, O-dear
    • Former KC Wizard Joins Irish Legend
    • 1-0 to Arsenal


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