If the Executive Committee’s decision is along the lines of the proposal FIFA advanced to the two Football Associations, this motion will become especially pertinent. FIFA’s proposal is a shameful abrogation of responsibility which threatens to create football apartheid in Ireland. It is vital that if this proposal is ratified and enforced then the IFA should be given every encouragement from politicians and the public to fight the decision through FIFA’s own appeal process and in courts if necessary.
Effective voluntary segregation would be an appalling road to go down, whether on the sports field or in other aspects of life. Yet the twin nationalisms carve-up lends itself to just such a tendency. Misreading the Good Friday Agreement to propose that recognising the Irish and British national identities in Northern Ireland allows both access to separate institutions is an insidious argument. This issue is about protecting the Northern Ireland football team specifically, but it also embodies a will to protect shared spaces in a wider context.
Proposed: That this Assembly opposes the recent eligibility proposal outlined by FIFA; believes it has the potential to cause serious harm to international soccer relations on the island of Ireland; and calls upon the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure to assist the Irish Football Association in opposing the ratification of this unfair and unjust proposal