Anthem gaffe apology is welcomed

AN APOLOGY by one of the world's leading computer games manufacturers - who wrongly assigned the Soldier's Song as the Northern Ireland team's national anthem in their latest soccer title - has been welcomed by the Minister for Sport.

EA Sports, who have sold billions of football games worldwide since launching their FIFA series in 1993, made the gaffe in their game to coincide with the just finished Euro Championships.

While none of the Home Nations made it through to the tournament, gamers can still take the Northern Ireland side all the way to Euro glory, surpassing even Spain's Xavi and Torres inspired triumph last weekend

But gamers have been reacting with surprise to hear that a victorious Northern Ireland team are played the Soldiers Song as they lift the trophy.

One fan posted a shocked comment on an internet football forum to simply say, "So Northern Ireland has no identity now I suppose."

Shaun White of the manufacturer EA Sports has since apologised.

"At EA Sports, we pride ourselves on delivering rich and authentic videogame experiences," he said. "We sincerely apologise for this error."

That apology has been welcomed by Sports Minister Gregory Campbell: "Any apology on this matter is most welcome. Obviously there's has been a lack of knowledge on the makers' part and hopefully it will be changed as soon as possible."

Ardent football fan Mr Campbell joked that perhaps the mistake might present even Northern Ireland's most devoted fans with a bit of a dilemma.

"Perhaps this will be the only time supporters want to see Northern Ireland lose," he said.

In November of last year the Sentinel reported the BBC was also forced to apologise after the Northern Ireland national anthem was referred to as "A Soldiers Song" on its Ceefax subtitle service prior to the game with newly crowned Euro Champions Spain in Las Palmas.

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