Rory Best questions Northern Ireland team using 'God Save the Queen' as national anthem 9 months ago

Rory Best questions Northern Ireland team using 'God Save the Queen' as national anthem

"It’s not very inclusive.”

Rory Best has questioned the Northern Ireland football team's use of 'God Save the Queen' as their national anthem.

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The former Ireland rugby captain said that the song is not inclusive of players who are from a nationalist background in the country.

Best made the comments during a 'Game of Two Halves', a UTV documentary that marks the 100th anniversary of the soccer split on the island.

The split led to the formation of two football associations and two national teams on the island. The documentary examines the repercussions of the division that are felt to this day.

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Rory Best: Northern Ireland's use of 'God Save the Queen' is not very inclusive.

Best played 124 times for Ireland and represented his native Ulster for 15 years before retiring in 2019.

The 39-year-old said in the past that he feels both Irish and British. But he feels that this was never an issue on the Ireland rugby team, who have always welcomed players from Unionist and Nationalist backgrounds.

Yet, Best believes the Northern Ireland team using 'God Save the Queen' as their national anthem has been an issue for players from a Nationalist background.

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"You could liken it to the way Irish rugby was pre-'Ireland’s Call'," he said about the Northern Ireland team using 'God Save the Queen' as their national anthem.

"For me, it’s potentially not the way an anthem should be. I understand that 'God Save the Queen' is Northern Ireland’s anthem because we’re part of the United Kingdom.

"It also always strikes a chord with me, that’s what you hear when you’re in Twickenham, and you’re getting ready to play England.

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"You don’t want to say that you find it strange because it is the anthem of Northern Ireland.

"But in terms of everything that I’ve done in sport, it’s been about including people. It’s not very inclusive."

Rory Best: Ireland's call is a respectful song.

Best also said that the Ireland rugby team's use of 'Ireland's Call' as their primary anthem has made it a more inclusive environment.

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The anthem of the Republic of Ireland, 'Amhrán na bhFiann', is sung before the Ireland rugby team play matches in Dublin.

"It could be the worst song in the world, but it’s about respect," Best said about 'Ireland's Call.'

"It’s about making sure that no matter where you are from that there is a part of you in that song, there’s an area that you’re from in that song.

"And all that comes together to form Irish rugby."