Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Football Association of Ireland
The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) is the organising body for the sport of Association football (soccer) in the Republic of Ireland. It should not be confused with the Irish Football Association (IFA), which is the organising body for the sport in Northern Ireland.
The FAI was formed in 1921 upon the partition of Ireland into the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland. Whereas the IRFU, the governing body for rugby union, remained a single all-Ireland organisation, the FAI was formed initally as a split by southern representatives who felt the Belfast-based IFA was too northern-oriented. Both organisations initially claimed to represent the entire island, although in practice the member clubs were divided on the same basis as the political border.
A number of players played for both the FAI "Ireland" (against FIFA members from mainland Europe) and the IFA "Ireland" (in the British Home Championship, whose members had withdrawn from FIFA in 1920). When the IFA rejoined FIFA in 1946 as "Northern Ireland", the FAI team thus became the Republic of Ireland team. (Playing for both teams was not forbidden until 1950.)
During the 1980s and 1990s, the FAI had an aggressive policy of recruiting talented players in the Irish diaspora who were eligible for Irish citizenship to play for the national team. Many of them became core players during the national team's rise to respectability in that period, including John Aldridge, Mick McCarthy and Ray Houghton.
At its foundation, the FAI formed a league championship, the Football League of Ireland, and extablished a FAI Cup competition along the lines of the FA Cup and Scottish Cup competitions. A second cup competition was formed in 1974 called the FAI League Cup.
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