From the BBC today...
THE FIVE MAIN POINTS:
- "Darron Gibson decided to play for the Republic of Ireland. Fifa has told the the Republic of Ireland they can keep the services of Northern Ireland-born Darron Gibson." - GOOD RIDDANCE!
- "... the Republic have lost the battle with Northern Ireland over the eligibility of players in the future." - OF COURSE, REMEMBER THERE ARE TWO ASSOCIATIONS ON THE ISLAND.
- "Fifa has ruled that the FAI may no longer quote the Good Friday Agreement as a reason for drafting up players born on the island of Ireland." - AGREE.
- "The FAI can now only use players born in the Republic, or whose parents or grandparents are born in the Republic." - AND ONLY RIGHT TOO.
- "The world governing body will not impose any sanction over Gibson's involvement for the Republic of Ireland in the Euro 2008 qualifiers." - JOKE!
So, at last, closure on this never-ending saga. It has no doubt left a bad taste in any Northern Ireland supporters mouth, however the fact FIFA have ruled that dirty-dealing done by the border bandits in FAI in Gibson-gate, will NOT happen again. Gibson got his wish to represent a country he's neither from nor has any family from, and the FAI have won their tug-of-war with the IFA for his services. I say good luck to them. Sure, the guy's Northern Ireland born and bred, but his allegences clearly lie with the Republic of Ireland such is the current political climate in 'the North'.
Ultimately, Darren Gibson is a Catholic and has hailed from a largely Nationalist area of Londonderry. Although, is nationalist area really the correct discription in this case where a player has defected to the Republic's team. I thought a Nationalist was someone who believed in a united Ireland through demographic dialogue, and in essence a united Ireland football team also. Thats where my confusion arises...
The Irish Football Association founded football in Ireland in 1880 and fielded a 'united' team up until the breakaway Football Association Ireland formed their own 26 county team in the 1920's. How nationalists even contemplate support for this partitionist association beats me. Infact, it wasn't until the 1950's that the original team on the island were told by FIFA to change their official name away from 'Ireland' to the current 'Northern Ireland'. The FAI then changed their breakaway name to 'Republic of Ireland' respectively.
But enough of the history lesson, I say any player who isn't going to give 100% for their country of birth simply doesn't deserve to represent them, regardless of if they 'want' to or not. Gibson's decision didn't come down to simply being mistreated by the IFA at youth level, its deeper than that. It's politics. Politics of the worst kind unfortunately, and as observer from start to finish of this whole debacle all thats left to say to Mr Gibson is close the door on your way out.
So, as Northern Ireland continue to field players from both sides of the political divide Gibson's loss may or may not prove to Republic's gain, but lets get back to the football please ladies. Its onwards and upwards for the Green & White Army - The original one.