No flags flown as Republic beat Northern Ireland due to safety concerns

No anthems were played or flags flown as Colin Bell’s side won World Cup qualifier

Republic of Ireland women celebrate a goal during their victory over Northern Ireland in Lurgan. Photograph: William Cherry/Inpho

Republic of Ireland women celebrate a goal during their victory over Northern Ireland in Lurgan. Photograph: William Cherry/Inpho

 

The Republic of Ireland women’s 2-0 win over Northern Ireland women on Tuesday night was played in the absence of flags or national anthems due to safety concerns.

Colin Bell’s side won their Women’s World Cup qualifier in Lurgan thanks to an own goal from Northern Ireland’s Rachel Furness and a second half strike from Megan Campbell.

Prior to the fixture at Mourneview Park neither team’s national anthem was played, while no country flags were flown.

This was down to a decision made by both the Irish FA and the FAI after safety concerns were raised, in agreement with the the official Uefa match delegate.

In a statement, the IFA said: “Following safety concerns raised ahead of the Fifa Women’s World Cup qualifier between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland at Mourneview Park, it was agreed with the Uefa match delegate that neither national anthem be played or flag be flown before the game.

“The Irish FA believes that the flag of both competing teams should be flown at a match venue and that their anthems should be played before a game.

“While understanding the safety concerns behind the Uefa match delegate’s decision, the association is disappointed that it was not possible for the normal pre-match protocols to be observed last night.”

The FAI also released a statement relating to the game.

It read: “In advance of last night’s 2019 World Cup qualifier with Northern Ireland at Mourneview Park in Lurgan, the Football Association of Ireland was informed by Uefa that no national anthems would be played or flags would be flown prior to the game.

“The Uefa decision was made on foot of information received by the police, the match venue, and the IFA around safety concerns.”

Bell said he incident did not affect his side’s build-up to the game, although he admitted personally that he had been looking forward to singing the anthem.

He said: “That was decided above our heads we can’t change it so we didn’t talk about it.

“I’ve been learning the national anthem so personally I was a little bit upset that I wasn’t able to sing it for the first time because I’ve been practising. But other than that we just wanted to come and get three points and leave all the other political stuff to other people.”

A Uefa statement read: “Both associations agreed not to fly any national flags nor play any of the national anthems.

“This decision was based on safety and security priorities and was validated by the Uefa match delegate on site.”

He said: “That was decided above our heads we can’t change it so we didn’t talk about it.

“I’ve been learning the national anthem so personally I was a little bit upset that I wasn’t able to sing it for the first time because I’ve been practising. But other than that we just wanted to come and get three points and leave all the other political stuff to other people.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.