Irish Soccer Fans Receive Award for Good Behavior
By Olivia O’Mahony, Editorial Assistant
August / September 2016
Fans of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland soccer teams were commended by the City of Paris for their displays of good sportsmanship during the 2016 Union of European Football Associations Championship.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said that both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland fans were awarded the Medal of the City of Paris for their “exceptional” behavior during the tournament. The Irish fans attracted much positive attention for their robust support of their teams and contribution to benevolent atmospheres in the host cities; in one particular instance, a green-clad group from the Republic of Ireland were recorded singing a lullaby to a crying baby on a crowded train in Bordeaux.
Hidalgo wrote to Irish president Michael D. Higgins to inform him of her decision, disclosing to him her happiness in giving the medal. Deputy Mayor for Sport and Tourism Jean-François Martins has called the fans of both teams a “model for all supporters of the world.”
The men’s international soccer tournament was hosted in France this year during June and July. Fans were over the moon when the team secured a 1 – 0 final score in a particularly nail-biting match against the internationally-revered Italian team, placing them third in their group and allowing them to progress to the knockout phase. However, the Republic of Ireland lost 2 – 1 to the French team in Lyon, officially knocking them out of the championship. Northern Ireland also qualified for the knockout phase, but were beaten 1 – 0 by Wales. ♦