Belfast Telegraph

Friday 27 May 2016

Costa Rica nothing to do with us: IFA

By Graham Luney

Published 13/03/2014

Innocent: Patrick Nelson says IFA are not talking to Costa Rica
Innocent: Patrick Nelson says IFA are not talking to Costa Rica

Rumours of Northern Ireland facing Costa Rica in June have been greatly exaggerated.

The Costa Rica Football Federation outlined details of a match against Northern Ireland on its official website this week – but that was news to the Irish Football Association.

The Irish FA badge was used to illustrate the story and inevitably the Green and White Army went searching for the truth.

Northern Ireland have already arranged friendlies against Uruguay in Montevideo on May 30 and Chile in Valparaiso on June 4.

At the end of a demanding season, June is not a popular international date for players so eyebrows were raised when Costa Rica claimed Northern Ireland would be opponents on June 7 at Gillette Stadium, near Boston.

But Irish FA chief executive Patrick Nelson and the association's president Jim Shaw say they are as amazed at the news as supporters.

The confusion raises the possibility that Costa Rica were in talks with the Republic of Ireland rather than the Irish FA.

"It's nothing to do with us and we haven't been speaking to them," said Nelson. "We have no plans to speak to them either or arrange a game. I don't know where it has come from but it's nothing to do with us – we are innocent on this one! It's probably a simple mistake with there being two teams on our island."

Shaw said he was also surprised by the news.

"It wouldn't be the first time the Irelands have been mixed up," he said. "It's probably more common for us to be viewed as the Republic. I've absolutely no knowledge of this – we haven't been talking to them.

"We are playing Uruguay and Chile and we are happy with those games as peparation for the Euro 2016 qualifiers.

"The Chile game is on June 4 so we would have a very busy June schedule if we had to face Costa Rica as well!"

Gary McAllister, official spokesperson for the Amalgamation of Northern Ireland Supporters' Clubs, added on Twitter: "I'm advised by the IFA that they aren't lining up a friendly with Costa Rica in June. Think someone's got their Ireland teams mixed up!"

Costa Rica, like Uruguay, are in England's World Cup group.

The serious business for Northern Ireland starts with the Euro 2016 qualifiers, kicking off with a tough assignment in Hungary on September 7.

Michael O'Neill's side were held 0-0 by Cyprus following a poor showing in Nicosia earlier this month.

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

From the web

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph