Northern Ireland news

Arlene Foster: Don't stop singing God Save The Queen at Northern Ireland games

Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley celebrates victory against Greece at Windsor Park last year. Picture by Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

ARLENE Foster has said there is no need to “tinker” with the practice of playing God Save the Queen before Northern Ireland football matches.

As the team prepare for this summer’s European Championships in France, the new DUP leader and first minister said: “We have a national anthem. I don’t think there is any need to tinker with that. I don’t see any reason to change it.”

MPs recently discussed whether England should adopt its own official song when Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins took his English national anthem bill to parliament. When England play Northern Ireland, both teams play God Save the Queen – but Scotland and Wales have their own anthems. It has been argued that a new anthem could also help attract more supporters and players from Catholic backgrounds who may feel more affinity with the Republic of Ireland team, which has also qualified for France.

But Mrs Foster said: “We have a national anthem. I am also very conscious that we don’t want to get into the politicisation of sport.

“Sport is something that unites people right across Northern Ireland. People are getting behind our sporting heroes. We are very much looking forward to the European Championships.

“Sport is something that unites us.”

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