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banner Thursday, 2 November, 2000, 17:54 GMT
Cascarino was eligible for Republic
Tony Cascarino
Tony Cascarino celebrating a goal for the Republic
Tony Cascarino was always eligible to play for his country according to the Football Association of Ireland (FAI).

The striker, who holds a record 88 caps for the Republic of Ireland, had claimed he might not have been eligible because his Irish "grandfather" was not a blood relation.

But the FAI said they have consulted their own files as well as the Irish government's and that there was nothing wrong with the player representing his country.

"The conclusions are that if the appropriate paperwork had been compiled when Cascarino was first capped in 1985, Tony would have been granted a passport," an FAI statement read.

"There is no evidence on record that Tony was ever refused a permanent Irish passport.

Irish passport

Cascarino was granted an Irish passport in 1996.

"Now the FAI are satisfied that Cascarino was always eligible to play for his country."

Cascarino had raised doubts about his eligibility in his autobiography "Full Time: The Secret Life of Tony Cascarino".

In it he writes: "I didn't qualify for Ireland. I was a fraud. A fake Irishman."

If the appropriate paperwork had been compiled when Cascarino was first capped in 1985, he would have been granted a passport
Cascarino, part of the Ireland squad for the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, comes from south-east England, but was first selected for Ireland in the 1980s, qualifying on the grounds that his grandfather was Irish.

He said that his mother told him only in 1996 that she was adopted and his Irish "grandfather" was not her natural father and so not a blood relative.

By that stage Cascarino's application for an Irish passport was about to be completed and he decided to keep quiet about the fact he had no real Irish roots. Cascarino went on to win a further 24 caps for his country.

Fifa has already dismissed the matter and the FAI statement seems to now close it for good.

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See also:

31 Oct 00 |  Football
Cascarino in the clear
29 Oct 00 |  Football
Cascarino: I was a fraud
02 Nov 00 |  World Cup 2002
Leeds pair in England wilderness
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