Belfast Telegraph

Cliftonville players bow their heads during playing of anthem at Irish Cup final

Cliftonville FC players appeared to bow their heads during the playing of 'God Save the Queen' before their 3-1 defeat in Saturday's Irish Cup Final against Coleraine.

There was also booing, jeering and singing by Cliftonville fans as the anthem was played.

Cliftonville officials had requested that the song not be played before the game at Windsor Park.

Cliftonville FC's support is traditionally drawn from the nationalist community in Belfast.

In 2013 the anthem was not played before Cliftonville's Irish Cup final game with Belfast rivals Glentoran.

The IFA said it had considered the request from the north Belfast club but decided the status quo should continue.

However they said they would review the matter in future.

Cliftonville FC said in a statement it noted the decision saying it would not comment on the matter until after the Cup Final.

North Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly described the actions of the Cliftonville players as a "dignified protest".

“In 2013 Cliftonville reached the Irish Cup Final and the British national anthem was not played. The IFA at the time said this decision was about fostering a ‘politically neutral environment’," Mr Kelly said.

“It would seem IFA have made the decision that a ‘politically neutral environment’ at Windsor Park is not for them.

“Today the message from the IFA to Irish nationalists is very negative."

 

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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