England fans cause controversy by singing anti-IRA chants in Italy


England fans have come under fire from the English Football Association after fans were heard singing anti-IRA chants against Italy in Turin.

England fans were heard singing anti-IRA chants in the 1-1 draw with Italy in Tuesday’s international friendly, despite efforts from the English FA to stamp the songs out following November’s match against Scotland.

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Essentially the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was an Irish republican revolutionary military organisation, descended from the Irish volunteers which was established to fight against British rule and for Irish independence before the Easter Rising of 1916.

Since then there have been many breakaway movements from the IRA, with different groups varying in levels of extremity and violence, and it is a hot issue in the history of relations between the Republic of Ireland and Britain.

In November, England fans were heard chanting “f*ck the IRA” in Scotland’s Celtic Park, which is the home of Celtic FC, a Glasgow-based club with a huge Irish following.

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The English FA liaised with fan groups after the game in an attempt to stop further chants being sung, and it seems that the FA’s pleas have fallen on deaf ears after similar chants were heard in Turin on Tuesday. During the first half, certain sections of the England supporters were also heard singing derogatory songs about Italy and the Italians.

After the game in Scotland, the FA released a statement announcing its unhappiness with the chants saying: “We apologize for any offence caused by a section of the England support at the match with Scotland. The FA does not condone inappropriate and offensive chanting and intends to meet with supporters’ groups to discuss the wider issues. We have consistently urged supporters to show respect and not to chant songs that could be regarded as insulting to others – particularly from a religious or political perspective.”

The FA will need to stamp out these chants once and for all, as any repeat during England’s friendly international against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on 7 June, would bring even more controversy and may cause some trouble between sections of opposing supporters.

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