IFA cancel Malta friendly


As a mark of respect to those killed or injured or bereaved by the bomb in Omagh on Saturday the Irish Football Association yesterday announced the cancellation of its international friendly with Malta, due to have been played at Windsor Park tomorrow.

The IFA took the decision after speaking to government officials and representatives from the Maltese FA.

The IFA president Jim Boyce said that after consultations between officials, players and the manager Lawrie McMenemy they all reached the same conclusion: "Football would be totally inappropriate. We had no hesitation in making that decision."

It is the first time that a terrorist incident has led directly to the cancellation of a Northern Ireland game. In the past there has been a determination not to let football be affected by the Troubles, but McMenemy, who has only been manager for three games, said: "It wasn't right to play. A match is a place to go to celebrate. I cannot see anything to celebrate this week."

Tonight's under-21 friendly between the two nations, due to take place at Castlereagh Park in Ards, has also been cancelled.