Football

Vincent Kompany Is Absolutely Perplexed By Northern Ireland's National Anthem

Vincent Kompany Is Absolutely Perplexed By Northern Ireland's National Anthem

Ruled out of the tournament through injury, Vincent Kompany is currently eagerly watching the tournament like everyone else who hasn't travelled to France.

The Manchester City and Belgium captain presumably kicked back to watch Northern Ireland's Group C opener against Poland, but was left baffled about the anthems situation (if only he knew how a significant portion of people in Northern Ireland felt about 'God Save The Queen').

Kompany took to Twitter to ask the question on everyone's lips: What happens with the national anthems if England play Northern Ireland?

The answer - based simply on the two countries' World Cup 2006 qualifiers at Windsor Park and Old Trafford - would be that God Save The Queen would air just once, representing both sides.

Interestingly, however, a Bill was introduced to British parliament back in January which proposed that England would no longer sing 'God Save The Queen' - the official anthem of the United Kingdom as opposed to England as an individual entity.

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Had it passed, it would have meant that Northern Ireland, where the song naturally remains most contentious, would have been the only country using it as an official anthem at sporting events (except for the Commonwealth Games, where Northern Irish athletes stand for 'Danny Boy').

Despite protestations from a significant portion of the Northern Irish public that God Saves The Queen prevents the North from cementing its own identity - be it as a member of the UK or otherwise - the perceived lack of reformist or progressive attitudes in its political class are viewed as an obstacle in any attempts to change its official anthem.

First Minister Arlene Foster once refused to contemplate Northern Ireland having its own anthem, claiming that changing it from 'God Save The Queen' would "politicise" sport.

Michael Hugh Walker - a self-professed Unionist - wrote in The Independent at the time:

...for any person living here to not know how political God Save The Queen is in a country half made up of nationalists is outstanding. For such an utterance to come from our First Minister is entirely bizarre.

It's not an issue unique to Nothern Ireland and England, however. Cyprus and Greece also share a national anthem - 'Hymn To Liberty' - which both sets of fans and players sing in unison on occasions where they face off at sporting events.

Gavan Casey
Article written by
Former handwriting champion. Was violently bitten by a pelican at Fota Wildlife Park in 2001.

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