Northern Ireland set to pull out of Nations Cup

Updated: January 8, 2012

IFA president Jim Shaw has raised concerns that Northern Ireland will not participate in forthcoming Carling Nations Cup ties by suggesting that it was merely a “one-off”.

Northern Ireland fans were critical of the 2011 tournament, which was won by the Republic of Ireland, and Irish FA president Jim Shaw is now reported to have said that Northern Ireland will opt out of the tournament.

“It was a one-off to start with,” Shaw told the Sunday Times.

“There was never any agreement to continue. I suppose if it had gone well there is the possibility that it could have been repeated.

“I don’t envisage it happening again but circumstances can change.”

A second Nations Cup featuring Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Wales has been provisionally scheduled to take place in Wales in 2013.

The inaugural tournament in Dublin generally suffered from low attendances and some Northern Ireland fans actually boycotted games, allegedly in protest to ticket arrangements.

However the publicity of the boycott was used by those against northern born Irish nationals playing for the Republic of Ireland to highlight their discontent.

Then Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington also fielded noticeably weakened teams after a number of first-choice players opted not to play.

Only 529 spectators attended Northern Ireland’s game against Wales at the Aviva Stadium and, since the competition, the Scottish FA has become embroiled in a dispute with their Republic, Northern Irish and Welsh counterparts over competition fees.

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