University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Transferring National Allegiance: Cultural Affinity or Flag of Convenience?

Holmes, M. and Storey, David ORCID: (2011) Transferring National Allegiance: Cultural Affinity or Flag of Convenience? Sport in Society, 14 (2). pp. 253-271. ISSN 1743-0437

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In international sport in recent years there has been a growing tendency for sportspeople to represent a country other than the one in which they were born. Most international sporting bodies allow people to represent either the country of their birth or one to which they have an attachment through ethnicity, residency or marriage. This
article explores the senses of national identity and belonging felt by sportspeople competing for a country other than the one in which they were born and grew up. It does so through a focus on the case of the Republic of Ireland soccer team since the 1980s. It examines perceptions of national identity amongst the so-called ‘Anglo’ contingent, players who were born in Britain but were eligible to play for Ireland under FIFA rules relating to parentage. The article is based on self-evaluations recorded in newspaper and magazine interviews and in players’ ‘auto’ biographies. It further examines the
reactions by various individuals outside Ireland to this phenomenon and the views of Irish fans towards player eligibility and selection. The article places this work in an analytical context of sport and nationalism, with particular emphasis on the complex relationships between sport and nationalism in Ireland. The article argues that there is evidence of significant attitudinal differences
between players; that players’ attitudes are by no means uniform but range from the ’careerist’ to the ’nationalist’ position. Responses to this phenomenon have been sharply divided between those who view it as a dilution of the authentically Irish nature of the team to those who see it as a pragmatic response to an otherwise limited player

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: nationalism, sports, soccer teams, soccer players
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Science and the Environment
Depositing User: David Storey
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2011 15:53
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2020 04:00

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