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FAI poaching Northern Ireland's players is unfair

I refer to the article headlined 'IFA deny stalling McClean's switch to Republic' (Sport, January 19).

I have observed with increasing levels of frustration this utterly unfair defection of players to the Republic that we, through the IFA, have helped developed, in some cases over many years.

This article reports how 'upset' the FAI are over the length of time it is taking to process these defections. Well, my heart bleeds.

It it is not the IFA that determines the timing of the process. The IFA is the Irish Football Association - not FIFA.

The FAI clearly has no limit to its bare-faced cheek.

Not content with poaching our players, they now complain that we aren't handing them over quick enough. I respect the right of an individual, who, by virtue of the Good Friday Agreement, is afforded the right to choose which passport they hold.

However, this is a political statute, not a sporting one. FIFA's criteria for eligibility is clearly laid out and simply holding a passport is not one of them.

And yet there is an exception made for players born in Northern Ireland.

This is blatantly unfair.

James McClean is a case in point. James has been quoted as saying "it has always been my dream to play for the Republic".

If that is, indeed, the case, then why has he chosen to play for Northern Ireland for many years and now, at more than 20 years old, decided he wants to play for the Republic?


Bangor, Co Down


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