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Football Country Background and History
National Football Team and Management: Northern Ireland
Irish Football Association
Telephone: (0)28 90 669 458
Team Nicknames: The Northern Ireland National Football Team's nickname is 'The Green and White Army' or 'Norn Iron' as fans refer to themselves at Windsor Park.
History of Football: Northern Ireland - National Team
Origins: From 1882 to 1921 a single side - the Ireland national football team, controlled by the Irish Football Association (IFA) - represented all of Ireland in football. After partition of the island in 1921 and the setting up of the independent Irish Free State the following year the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) was formed to represent the national football team south of the border; the national team in the north was - and continues to be - represented by the IFA. The two Ireland teams existed alongside each other but never met in a major tournament.
In March, 1950 in a qualifying match against Wales for that year's World Cup the northern team included four players who had been born in the south. The FAI complained and, in 1953, FIFA - the world's governing body for football - ruled that players' eligibility to play for their national teams depended upon which side of the actual border between the two countries they came from. It also stated that neither of the national teams could be referred to as simply 'Ireland.' The FAI team would henceforth be officially designated as the Republic of Ireland, while the IFA team was to become Northern Ireland.
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