Northern Ireland news

IFA refuse to drop God Save the Queen for Irish Cup final

Cliftonville players Joe Gormley and Shane Grimes following a game at Solitude last month. Picture by Colm Lenaghan, Pacemaker

GOD Save The Queen will be played at this weekend's Irish Cup Final after the Irish Football Association rejected a request from Cliftonville.

The north Belfast club, which has a predominantly nationalist fan base, will play against Co Derry side Coleraine in Saturday's final.

Cliftonville had written to the IFA to request that the British national anthem not be played before the match.

In 2013, the anthem was dropped from the Irish Cup final between Cliftonville and east Belfast side Glentoran after the IFA said it wanted to foster a "politically neutral environment" for the game.

A similar decision was taken in 2009 before the final between Cliftonville and north Belfast rivals Crusaders.

In a statement released last night, the IFA said its board met last night to consider Cliftonville's request.

"The members expressed sympathy for Cliftonville's position but decided that the current board policy, agreed in August 2013, should stand," the statement read.

"Therefore, the national anthem will be played before the match.

"The board also committed to conducting a future stakeholder review of the issue."

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Northern Ireland news