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Ulster Unionists need to be given red card for foul play - Maskey MLA

10 December, 2007

Commenting before a scheduled Ulster Unionist motion tomorrow on the recent eligibility proposal outlined by FIFA regarding young Irish soccer players Sinn Féin West Belfast MLA and Assembly Culture Committee member, Paul Maskey has said that not only should sport be a non-contraversial issue but also it should be promoted by the assembly.

He said,

"I have heard on many occasions that politics should not be brought into sport, yet Danny Kennedy and David Mc Narry, who submitted this motion have done the very opposite.

"This motion is against the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement, the very same agreement that the members who brought this motion to this assembly signed up to.

"The issue for who you play for is a matter of choice for the individual.

"But instead of letting people choose who to play soccer for, members Kennedy and McNarry are playing silly games with this motion and need to be given the red card for their foul play.

"Are we not in favour of wanting to make our teams better and a re we not in favour of showing leadership and giving every opportunity to our young soccer players to play at the highest level?

"The assembly should accept the current draft FIFA's proposals that players born anywhere on the Island should be free to choose whether they wish to play for the six county or twenty six county team and commend them. F ootball should be promoted in the assembly and should be a non-contraversial issue.

"So therefore I urge all the members to kick this motion into touch, lets not score an own goal by restricting individuals for playing for the team that they choose to play for.

"It is in the above context that Sinn Féin and the SDLP have lodged a petition of concern on this matter." Críoch

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