Irish Football Association issues response to McClean's comments
File images: The Irish Football Association has issued a statement in response to Republic of Ireland player James McClean's statements that Catholics do not feel comfortable lining out for Northern Ireland. File images from February 2012.
The Irish Football Association, the governing body of the Northern Ireland soccer team, has issued a statement in response to Republic of Ireland player James McClean's statements that Catholics do not feel comfortable lining out for Northern Ireland. McClean, a former Derry City player, was forced to close his Twitter account this week following death threats after some comments he posted online about the Northern Ireland soccer team.
The IFA's statement distances itself from McClean's comments that the Northern Ireland team is not a comfortable set-up for Catholics. According to the IFA their strategic vision "is to foster, develop and promote football for all throughout Northern Ireland."
The text of the statement issues by the Irish Football Association is contained below:
"THE Irish Football Association is disappointed by the comments made by James McClean in today’s media.
The Irish FA’s strategic vision is to foster, develop and promote football for all throughout Northern Ireland.
The Association has a very successful ‘Football For All’ programme where the main objective of the programme is to make sure that the sport of football is welcoming and inclusive to all members of our society in Northern Ireland and we will continue to drive this initiative forward. We pride ourselves with the fact that all Northern Ireland international football teams – both past and present - have always involved players from all sections of the community.
All our programmes – from grassroots football and our Centres of Excellence, to our girls and women's football and disability development programmes - each and every one has always been cross community, promoting ‘Football For All’.
The Association runs many successful grassroots programmes and the numbers participating in these programmes and representing Northern Ireland at all age groups / levels and from all communities, continues to rise. The Irish FA will continue to develop our very successful and wide range of ‘Football For All’ and community programmes in the areas of grassroots, domestic and International football."