The Irish Football Association reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Irish Football Association

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The Irish Football Association (IFA) is the organising body for the sport of football (soccer) in Northern Ireland. It should not be confused with the Football Association of Ireland (FAI), which is the organising body in the Republic of Ireland.

The IFA was formed in 1880 by football clubs in the Belfast area. A meeting was called by Cliftonville FC of other football clubs who followed the rules set out by the Scottish Football Association (SFA) on November 18 of that year to form the IFA. The first decision they took was to form an annual challenge cup competition similar to the FA Cup and Scottish Cup competitions. Two years later the Irish national side played their first international against England, getting beaten 13-0.

At this stage the IFA was the organising body for the sport across all of Ireland, but upon partition in 1921 the FAI was set up to regulate the game in the Irish Free State (now the Republic). The IFA regulated the game in the North, and all results obtained by the Irish national side and records in the Irish Football League and the cup competition stood as Northern Irish records. Therefore in essence the IFA as Northern Ireland's organising body is a direct continuation of the IFA as the organising body across all of Ireland.

Along with the other "home nations" associations (the FA, the SFA and the Football Association of Wales) the IFA sits on the International Football Association Board which is responsible for the laws of the game. The IFA continues to have responsibility for the running of the Northern Ireland national football team.

External Link

Irish FA Website