FAI hailed for show of LGBT solidarity with rainbow flag jerseys
Showing their true colours.
The FAI gets a lot of slack – and maybe rightly so – but they deserve a lot of credit for making a statement in their latest move.
On Friday, the Irish soccer's governing body announced that the Republic of Ireland players will wear jerseys sporting the LGBT rainbow flag when they face the United States at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday night.
The numbers on the back of each Ireland player's top will feature rainbow colours as opposed to the traditional white.
The FAI posted an image on Twitter showing the number 4 jersey of John O'Shea, Ireland's defensive stalwart who will turn out for the Boys in Green for the 117th and final time, drawing the curtain on a 17-year international career.
The image was captioned: "The back of match kit. Not just a number, this is a statement. Ireland, supporting #LGBT rights."
— Ireland Football ⚽️🇮🇪 (@IrelandFootball) June 1, 2018
Some on social media complained, saying that it broke UEFA and FIFA rules about political and religious symbols on jerseys. Of course, any rational thinking human being will recognise that homosexuality is nothing to do with politics or religion. What the FAI is doing is simply showing solidarity during Pride Month.
The majority of replies hailed the FAI's move.
Well done @FAIreland! This is not only a wonderful show of solidarity for our LGBT fans but it will also mean so much to so many people in the stands, watching at home and maybe even on the pitch who for whatever reason feel they can't come out. 🇮🇪🏳️🌈🇮🇪 👏👍👏 #IRLUSA
— Miriam Kennedy (@Miriam_Kennedy) June 1, 2018
That. Is. Superb.
Well played Ireland.
— Celtic Research (@CelticResearch) June 1, 2018
Our game is for everyone.
In celebration of #PrideMonth and in partnership with @YouCanPlayTeam, the @ussoccer_mnt and @ussoccer_wnt will wear rainbow-colored numbers for their June friendlies.#OneNation » https://t.co/RoZr05F8jm pic.twitter.com/7bqkfcsIVu
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) June 1, 2018
— Dublin LGBTQ+ Pride (@DublinPride) June 1, 2018
— Ireland Football ⚽️🇮🇪 (@IrelandFootball) June 2, 2018
The friendly in Dublin is Ireland's last match until the Euro Nations League opener against Wales in September.
It is set to be a big night for Graham Burke, who may earn his first start for Ireland.
The Shamrock Rovers striker came off the bench against France in Paris on Monday but may be handed a starting berth by Martin O'Neill with Shane Long out through injury.