2 nations, 1 game | All-Irish museum plans to recognize ‘shared space’

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Belfast, Northern Ireland | With a goal of building understanding and “a shared space for football fans on this island,” the governing associations of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland plan to discuss housing an all-Ireland soccer museum in Belfast.

The idea originates with Sport against Racism Ireland (SARI), based in Dublin. Ken McCue of SARI said the goal was not to unite the football associations but to educate about shared histories, such as the first Irish national jersey, whose badge included the Celtic cross and harp. “It would be important,” says McCue,

for kids in Dublin who still think the first Irish side to qualify for the World Cup was the Republic in 1990. A trip to the museum would inform them that the northern team were actually at three World Cups in Sweden 1958, Spain 1982 and Mexico 1986.

About the Author

John Turnbull founded The Global Game in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has also written on soccer for Afriche e Orienti (Bologna, Italy), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Goal blog, Soccer and Society, So Foot (Paris) and When Saturday Comes. His essay "Alone in the Woods: The Literary Landscape of Soccer's 'Last Defender' " in World Literature Today was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also for World Literature Today he edited a special section on women's soccer, "World Cup/World Lit 2011," before the Women's World Cup in Germany. The section appeared in the May-June issue. His next project is a book on soccer and faith.

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