Northern Ireland

Football Fiasco – Agreement Falls Through – On This Day in 1924

Agreement to have single football association on island collapses in dispute over chairmanship

The Irish Football Association said it is currently working with police
The Irish Football Association sought permanent chairmanship of the sport's governance in the 1920s
April 2 1924

A meeting of the IFA Council was held in the rooms last evening, Captain J M Wilton presiding.

The secretary read a letter from the Free State Association intimating their inability to agree to the terms of the recent agreement unless granted alternate chairmanship.

The Chairman regretted the impasse which had happened. He had hoped, he said, that the great concessions which his association had been prepared to make in order to have one national association governing football in Ireland would have been acceptable to the Free State Association, but the delegates sent north evidently had not the confidence of the people who had sent them.

He did not propose to criticise those delegates, but he would like the council to remember what he had emphasised on the night of the conference. At that meeting he told the Free State delegates that the agreement would be a test of sincerity of both sides for the unification of the game in Ireland. As far as the IFA were concerned, they had loyally abided by the agreement, and it was a pity that those who met them could not see their way also to agree. However, it was a matter entirely for the Council. The delegates had carefully considered the position which had arisen, and, having unanimously passed the resolution which was before them, it now remained for the council to decide whether they considered it worth while to proceed any further in these negotiations.

A Dublin correspondent, writing on the question of a settlement, says: This is a matter that has been occupying the minds of the football fraternity for some time. A great deal has been said and written about it. Most of the writers have been giving the IFA side of the question, and backing them up in every way – calling the Free State Council blunderers, die-hards, etc.

To allow the IFA to have a permanent chairman is not equal representation. It means that the IFA are still to be the controlling body. It was a cute proposition on the part of the IFA, and unfortunately the Free State delegates gave way. Is it any wonder, then, that the Free State Council, when the matter came before them, rejected it.

Although an agreement between the IFA and FAI to unify football governance on the island seemed likely, it was spurned at the last moment as the FAI rejected the permanent chairman being from the IFA.