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Irish fans fury at Sky Sports’ inclusion of ‘turncoat’ Declan Rice in TV ads

A Sky insider denied the omission was because Rice’s inclusion may infuriate Irish fans, given his controversial move from playing with Ireland to England.

Declan Rice once played for Ireland© ?????>?/?? ??  `??_

Jack Grealish pictured lining out for the Ireland Under-21 squad in 2014. Photo: Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

Eugene MastersonSunday World

Irish football fans have reacted with fury to Sky Sports’ decision to rectify an initial oversight and include ‘turncoat’ Declan Rice in their advertisement campaign on Irish television channels.

Spy Sports’ new football commercials focus on the channel’s pundits, including Jamie Redknapp, Jamie Carragher, Gary Neville, Karen Carney and Micah Richards sharing an emotional journey through the authentic live football experience.

The ‘It’s Only Live Once’ ads – which also featured ordinary fans as well as action sequences featuring prominent players like Mo Salah, Christian Ericksen and Kevin De Bruyne – showcase the best moments in football in a series of spots.

On British TV channels each spot ends with Declan Rice in his West Ham jersey, putting up his index finger and declaring “It’s only live once”.

But the ads on Irish channels RTÉ and Virgin Media have omitted Rice’s appearance.

A Sky insider denied the omission was because Rice’s inclusion may infuriate Irish fans, given his controversial move from playing with Ireland to England.

“Sky only got clearance to use him in the ad closer to broadcast than the other players,” says a source.

“They had a version without Declan Rice and that was the one that was sent out to Irish TV stations unintentionally.

“The ads now featuring Declan Rice will now air on Irish TV.”

But the move to feature Rice here has infuriated Irish soccer fans.

“Declan Rice is a turncoat, so too is Jack Grealish,” fumed Gerry Rochford, chairperson of the Dublin branch of the Republic of Ireland Soccer Supports Clubs.

Jack Grealish pictured lining out for the Ireland Under-21 squad in 2014. Photo: Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

“I would appeal to Sky not to include Rice in their ads in Ireland, as his inclusion would only fan the flames of annoyance here against him. It will cause a backlash in a lot of quarters.”

angry

He adds: “Irish fans are still very angry that Rice played for Ireland and then opted to play for England when it suited him.”

London born Rice – who once apologised for posting ‘Up the Ra’ on social media – originally qualified playing for Ireland through his paternal grandparents from Cork.

He won 20 caps at underage level across various levels from 2015 to 2018. The midfielders then progressed to the Ireland senior team, where he won three caps in friendlies.

He jumped ship to play for England in 2019, despite then new Ireland manager Mick McCarthy declaring he would be a permanent member of the Irish set-up.


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