Gleeful Irish FA chiefs were last night celebrating a retaliatory strike against the Republic in the bitter row over international player poaching.
The IFA vote was yesterday instrumental in world governing body FIFA’s rejection of goal-line technology coming into the game — effectively ruling out video replays ever being introduced into football. The Republic had demanded the use of video evidence in the wake of the Thierry Henry controversy, when the French striker's clear handball led to a decisive goal in their World Cup play-off match last November.
England and Scotland were also in favour when the issue came before yesterday’s meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, of football’s rule-makers — the FIFA international board.
By a peculiar quirk of age-old football structures, that body is made up of the four Home countries, plus a bloc vote of four from FIFA.
Northern Ireland and Wales promptly lined up behind FIFA wishes and the proposal was defeated 6-2.
And there’s no doubt the player eligibility row, currently raging between Northern Ireland and the Republic, helped sway the IFA vote.
Whether the tit-for-tat movecarries favour with FIFA in the IFA’s campaign to prevent defections to the Republic remains to be seen.
But it was a clear shot back at the Republic after weeks on the back foot by the IFA following the latest loss of Everton’s Shane Duffy.
For the full story, see this week's Sunday Life.