Sky Sports News HQ have gotten involved in the row about soccer players not born in the Republic of Ireland pulling on the green jersey and have upset a lot of people with their “country of birth” statistic this morning.
The sports news channel broadcast an infographic showing that, of the 27-man panel named by Martin O’Neill on Monday, only 15 were actually born in the Republic.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) November 12, 2014
Of the other 12, Darron Gibson and James McClean were both born in Derry.
Another eight, Cyrus Christie, David McGoldrick, Rob Elliott, Alex Pearce, Ciaran Clark, Anthony Pilkington, Jon Walters and Richard Keogh were born in England.
The row has blown up in recent days over the remaining two players, Aiden McGeady and James McCarthy, both of whom were born in Scotland.
Former Scotland player Gordon McQueen criticised the pair for choosing Ireland over Scotland and said he hoped they got a ”horrible reception” in Celtic Park on Friday night.
Many others in the game, including Ireland’s Shay Given, have since spoken out against McQueen’s comments.
Sky’s use of statistics triggered an immediate storm of criticism online.
Many questioned the need to highlight place of birth when it does not usually warrant a mention.
@SkySportsNewsHQ never seen you do this kind of statistic for any other country???— Gav (@GavinHolmes3) November 12, 2014
Others suggested some other teams based in the home nations that should be subjected to the same analysis.
@SkySportsNewsHQ I've not seen you do a similar piece on the English Rugby or Cricket teams. Strange that.— Jim Mošić non professional minority fan (@JMoran1982) November 12, 2014
Looking forward to @SkySportsNewsHQ breakdown of countries of birth for the "English" rugby & cricket teams next!— Julian Lee (@Julian_Lee76) November 12, 2014
Not all reaction was critical of Sky - some commentators used the opportunity to attack what they see as unfair use of players by the Republic of Ireland.
@JMoran1971 @SkySportsNewsHQ and that's not really rep of Ireland then.. It's republican of Ireland plus 12 other nationalities— Tony (@TutFoster) November 12, 2014
— Jack Garratt (@JackGarratt95) November 12, 2014
The channel then also produced the same infographic for the Scotland squad.
Sky’s use of these statistics have ensured even more focus on this issue when Scotland host Ireland in their crucial Euro 2016 qualifier game on Friday night.
Hat tip: balls.ie