Belfast Telegraph

All national anthems are worthy of respect says Irish FA's ex-president

By Graham Luney

Former Irish Football Association President Jim Shaw has reacted to the Irish Cup final National Anthem controversy by saying he believes all anthems should be respected.

Cliftonville players bowed their heads during the playing of the National Anthem before the start of the Irish Cup Final at Windsor Park last weekend.

The day before the showpiece game, the Irish Football Association reveleaed it had turned down a call from the north Belfast club not to play the anthem before the final against Coleraine.

The Irish FA said in a statement it sympathised with Cliftonville's position but added that it had "committed to conducting a future stakeholder review of the issue".

Shaw was Irish FA President in 2013 when the anthem was dropped from the Irish Cup final between Cliftonville and Glentoran.

The Challenge Cup Committee made that decision to foster a "politically neutral environment" for the game but the Irish FA Board's policy since August that year is that the anthem should be played.

Shaw, who stepped down as president after Northern Ireland's remarkable Euro 2016 campaign, said: "I think the Irish FA were in a very difficult position because the way politics in this country is, whatever decision they made they would be criticised by someone.

"The playing of the anthem has been a tradition but the IFA faced a dilemma when Cliftonville requested for it not be played.

"My own personal view is that a National Anthem should be respected.

"In whatever country I go to, I will stand for the anthem and respect it.

"That's what I like to see."

Cliftonville may also be fined by the Irish FA after flares were thrown onto the pitch by their fans during the anthem.

Coleraine won the final 3-1 at Belfast's Windsor Park to secure a sixth Irish Cup success.

Belfast Telegraph

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