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Irelands Absence From World Cup 2010 FIFA’s Loss

The World Cup 2010 in South Africa is up and running and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s the visceral kaleidoscopic international spectacle we all expected it to be and then some.

All 32 teams have now completed their first stint of games and while what’s happening on the pitch is looking good, what’s happening in the stands isn’t.

One can’t help but notice the lacklustre attendances at some of the group matches so far, a sight that genuinely takes away from the passion and pride of the beautiful game on South Africa’s hallowed World Cup pitches. Yes the sound of the Vuvuzela implies there’s a full house at every game, but there isn’t.

There were almost 11,000 empty seats at Saturday’s game between South Korea and Greece in Port Elizabeth and the official attendance at the Algeria-Slovenia clash in Polokwane was 30,325, almost 11,000 below the capacity. Yes these events do not have the glamour ties with the Brazil’s, England’s and Portugal’s of this world, but this empty seat dilemma does more than just cast a shadow over FIFA’s pricing policy. It makes we Irish, a country that should be at this tournament, feel even worse about our absence.

If Ireland were at the World Cup you could guarantee that every game we would be involved in would be a sellout, glamour team involved or no glamour team involved. Our passion for the beautiful game coupled with our dedication to cheering on the boys in green and singing Amhrán na bhFiann loud and proud means that the Irish would be the solution to FIFA’s seating dilemma.

The Irish would have flocked to South Africa, in their multitudes, to support Trap’s Army if they would have qualified. The French cheated their way to the tournament and FIFA, although acknowledging this injustice, refused to do anything about it. It’s ok to cheat apparently.

It’s ironic really, FIFA wouldn’t let us go to the 2010 World Cup and now it appears we are exactly what the tournament needs, impassioned fans in their thousands, putting bums on seats and bringing passion to the pitch, from currently desolate stands.

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