Football

Bizarre Scenes At Republic Vs NI World Cup Qualifier As Flags And Anthems Are Banned

Bizarre Scenes At Republic Vs NI World Cup Qualifier As Flags And Anthems Are Banned

Ahead of yesterday's Women's World Cup qualifier between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in Lurgan, 'safety concerns' resulted in two peculiar omissions.

Due to a perceived threat, there was a general agreement that neither country would have their national flag on display during the match.

Furthermore, the usual protocol of playing each team's national anthem prior to kick off was similarly overlooked.

According to BBC Sport, the reasoning behind this arrangement remains unclear:

UEFA made the decision before the game at Mourneview Park in Lurgan after safety concerns were raised.

The Football Association of Ireland said the decision was made after information received by police and the match venue around safety concerns.

Initially, it had been expected that no such precautions would be necessary.

When the two men's teams met last in 2011 in Dublin, all usual conventions were upheld.

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The Irish Football Association made their disappointment with the necessity of yesterday's decision clear:

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.

The association is disappointed that it was not possible for the normal pre-match protocols to be observed last night.

Ian Mallon, the FAI Director of Communications said:

In advance of last night's 2019 World Cup Qualifier versus Northern Ireland in Mourneview Park in Lurgan, the Football Association of Ireland was informed by UEFA that no National Anthems would be played or no flags would be flown prior to the game.

The UEFA decision was made on foot of information received by police, the match venue and the Irish Football Association on crowd safety concerns.

Republic of Ireland international Grace Murray reiterated this sense of disappointment, speaking to Q Radio after the game.

I think it is disgusting it has come to this and has cast a negative shadow over the whole experience.

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In what was the opening night of qualification for the 2019 Women's World Cup in France, the Republic of Ireland secured a vital 2-0 win in Armagh.

You can watch both of the goals below.

See Also: Brighton Had An All-Waterford Midfield Partnership On Tuesday Night

Arthur James O'Dea

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