Poll finds 48% want Northern Ireland football team anthem changed

ALMOST half of residents believe playing God Save the Queen before Northern Ireland international football matches were scrapped, according to a new poll.

LucidTalk’s exclusive survey for the Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life has asked whether the Irish Football Association (IFA) should switch to a Northern Ireland-specific anthem instead.

Of the 3,112 people who participated, 48% said the organization should make a change, 40% said God Save the Queen should not be let go, and 12% said they don’t know, don’t were unsure or had no opinion.

But the difference in responses was more marked when broken down by religion with 75 per cent of Protestants saying the national anthem should always be played before games with just 16 per cent in favor of a change and 9 per cent not knowing , were unsure or had no opinion .

Of the Catholics who participated, 80% said God Save the Queen should be replaced with something else. Only 8% thought it should be kept while 13% didn’t know, weren’t sure or had no opinion.

When those of “other or no religion” were asked, 62% said the anthem should be changed with 25% against and 13% said they didn’t know, weren’t sure or had no idea. no opinion.

The survey was carried out across Northern Ireland over three days earlier this month.

The idea of ​​switching from God Save the Queen to a gender-neutral anthem has already been floated by high-profile sports figures, including former Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill.

Speaking in the UTV documentary A Game of Two Halves aired last month, Mr O’Neill said he favored the change to something the whole team could sing together.

“I felt we were at a disadvantage in the anthem, because I could see how other countries would sing their anthem or display real patriotism, you know, real solidarity, real emotion during the anthem,” he said. he declared.

“And we never really understood that.

“I just felt we needed something that we could potentially use as an identity in the same way, as you know, if you ask someone from Wales or Scotland where they comes, he’ll tell you he’s Scottish, or Welsh, they won’t say they’re British.

On the same programme, Northern Ireland women’s captain Marissa Callaghan also said she would welcome a change.

“As a Catholic player, unfortunately, I don’t have the experience to stand up and sing the anthem as loud as I can, but that doesn’t take away the pride and the passion and what it means to put on the shirt. green,” she said.

“It will take someone to think outside the box and have the courage to get things done.”

Irish rugby legend Rory Best said on the program that he does not believe God Save the Queen’s game before Northern Ireland international football matches are inclusive for all supporters.

“To me, that’s potentially not the way an anthem should be. I understand God Save The Queen is the anthem of Northern Ireland because we are part of the UK,” he said.

“You don’t want to say you find it strange because it’s Northern Ireland’s anthem, but in terms of everything I’ve done in sport, it’s been about including the people. It’s not very inclusive.

IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson told the program that the organization would participate in any future public discussion of the playing of the anthem.

“Northern Ireland is a complex place and it’s an issue that stirs a lot of emotions in people,” he said.

“Part of it is positive, in terms of wanting to keep the anthem, and for some people they would like to change it. We will participate in any official public debate if that ever happens.

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