Republic of Ireland football team wear rainbow colour numbers in show of solidarity with LGBT community

The FAI said the use of the rainbow coloured numbers was a "statement" in support of "LGBT rights". Picture from RTÉ
John Monaghan

THE Republic of Ireland football team has worn shirt numbers adorned with the rainbow flag colours of the LGBT movement in a show of solidarity.

The colour of the shirt number of each Irish player was changed from white to rainbow for Saturday night's friendly game against the USA in Dublin.

"Not just a number, this is a statement. Ireland, supporting LGBT rights," the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) wrote on their official Twitter account.

The FAI's tweet added the hashtag of #EqualGame. a reference to UEFA's 'Equal Game' initiative, which aims to promote diversity and fight against discrimination.

Pride month takes place around the world each June.

Sinn Féin councillor Daithí Doolan, who deputised for the Lord Mayor of Dublin at the match, said: "Excellent idea. Important to promote equality on & off the pitch."

However, loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson tweeted: "So much for sport being non-political. Will FAI equally offer a gesture of support to those that support traditional marriage?"

The match, which the Republic won 2-1 with a last-minute winner from Alan Judge, also brought the curtain down on the international career of John O'Shea, who retired after 17 years and 118 appearances.

Meanwhile, Shamrock Rovers' forward Graham Burke became the first League of Ireland player to score for the international side in 40 years.

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