Today, a delegation from the Progressive Unionist Party met with representatives of the Irish Football Association in relation to their decision not to play the National Anthem at the forthcoming Irish Cup Final between Cliftonville and Glentoran.
The PUP stated their disappointment at the decision not to play the National Anthem, as we believe, the IFA fall under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, and, as such, it should be played in keeping with the tradition of this event. It was however clear that, in line with IFA guidelines, this decision was taken by the appropriate committee and will not be reversed for this Saturdays game.
While disappointing, it was agreed by all, that this should not detract from the importance of this sporting event and that the partnership created to benefit Marie Curie, and most importantly, the spectacle of football on the field, should be the main focus of the day.
The IFA stressed, that this decision does not effect International games, where the traditional protocols will remain unchanged. It was also stated that making such decisions on a game by game basis, does not necessarily promote equality or good relations and the IFA have agreed to look at their policies after this event, with a view to providing extra guidance with regard to the playing of anthems and flying of flags at their sporting events.
The Progressive Unionist Party would like to thank the IFA for accommodating todays meeting and look forward to working with them in the future.