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Nationality matters on the football pitch

There has been much written on the Shane Duffy affair and his decision to declare for the Football Association of Ireland.

Reference keeps being made to FIFA Satute Article 16. Article 16 exists to deal with players whose nationality entitles them to play for more than one association on account of their nationality.

Most people seem to miss that Irish nationality does not give you this entitlement, therefore Article 16 does not apply.

Article 15 is quite clear: "Any person holding a permanent nationality that is not dependant on residence in a certain country is eligible to play for the representative teams of the Association of that country." It is on this basis that Shane Duffy is eligible, not that his father came from Donegal.

There has also been comment on the passports held by players. The only time a passport is required to be shown is to confirm a players identity, not nationality, prior to a game.

Maybe the IFA should be careful what they wish for, because they may find that, as a result of their case, sources they use for gaining players are suddenly closed to them. 'Football for All' should not just mean where your granny came from.

IRISH FOOTBALL FAN

Belfast

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