An Ulster Unionist Party delegation including East Belfast MLA Michael Copeland and Alderman Jim Rodgers will meet tomorrow with senior IFA officials to highlight community unease felt at the news that the National Anthem will not be played before kick off in this Saturday’s Irish Cup Final between Glentoran and Cliftonville.
Mr Copeland said:
“The Irish Football Association have made a mistake in unilaterally deciding to omit the National Anthem from Saturday’s pre-match arrangements and in the process have caused a great deal of offence, to not only football fans but many in the wider community.”
Alderman Rodgers said:
“I have been inundated with complaints from Glentoran supporters and the wider community in east Belfast and beyond.
I can assure them that I share these concerns and will be relaying them to the IFA on Wednesday. I do not wish to bring politics into football, but this decision does just that. The simple political fact is that Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and everyone signed up to that fact with the Belfast Agreement in 1998.”