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The argument for an All Ireland soccer team has a long history. In the 1930s and well into the late 1940s and early 1950s, Northern Ireland selected players from the south.
Some time later, well known NI internationals spoke in favour of an all-island team. Derek Dougan and George Best come to mind. I suspect FIFA supports the current situation. Their policy seems to be one of ‘the more the merrier’. For example, the Faroes and Gibraltar played its first international soccer match as a new full member of UEFA recently. The Catalans would also like to break from Spain. More teams, more games to fill the gaps between TV advertisements.
Of course a major problem lies with the administrators and the rest of the hangers-on who manage to board the team plane for overseas junkets. An All Ireland team would mean at least half of these camp followers would lose their trips with business class pampering, swish hotels, etc. However, the worst feature would be the introduction of maudlin ‘Ireland’s call’ before kick-off.
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