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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 May, 2003, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
National anthem ban at stadium
Fans
Fans will have to sing their club anthems
Cardiff City football fans will not be singing the Welsh national anthem at a key match in the Millennium Stadium this weekend, the Football League said on Thursday.

A furious row erupted when it emerged that God Save The Queen would be sung ahead of the club's Division Two promotion play-off final against Queens Park Rangers on Sunday.

Bluebirds fans said they wanted the Welsh national anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land Of My Fathers), to be played at one of their most high-profile matches.

It has now been decided that neither song will be performed.

The Football League said it had made the decision as it did not want the controversy to detract from the importance of the match.

There were fears that the performance of God Save The Queen on Sunday would cause problems - Cardiff City fans threatened to sing the Welsh anthem at the same time.

Millennium Stadium
The Millennium Stadium will host Cardiff and QPR
When it was originally announced that God Save The Queen would be played, politicians and fans immediately objected.

Welsh assembly First Minister Rhodri Morgan said he did not see the purpose of singing national anthems in the play-off final - but if they were to be sung, it should be both anthems or neither.

But Soccer officials argued that God Save The Queen is the British national anthem, which means it is not only for the English.

But after a week of wrangling, Football League bosses decided that neither song would be played.

The decision also applies to the two other matches - the Division One play-off between Wolves and Sheffield along with the Division Three play-off between Bournemouth and Lincoln.

It is our view that it would be preferable for fans to participate in the singing of their club songs half an hour before kick-off instead of any national anthems
John Nagle, Football League
Football League spokesman John Nagle explained why the decision had been made.

"The national anthem has only ever been sung at play-off weekends because it is regarded as a traditional part of the pre-match build-up to football finals." he said.

"Unfortunately the playing of the anthem this weekend has become a subject of some controversy.

"This has begun to detract from the games themselves and from the achievements of the clubs involved and this should clearly not be the case."

"The League has always made it clear that it regards these games as domestic club matches. They are neither international matches nor international occasions." he added.

"Therefore on reflection it is our view that it would be preferable for fans to participate in the singing of their club songs half an hour before kick-off instead of any national anthems."

The Cardiff City team song is the famous Welsh hymn Men of Harlech and Queen's Park Rangers is Pig Bag.




SEE ALSO:
Blake hymn tops anthem poll
23 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
Choir's disharmony over anthem
07 Feb 02  |  Wales
MPs demand BBC reinstates anthem
11 Jan 02  |  Politics
Decision on match anthem due
21 May 03  |  Wales


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