Irish Cup Final: Irish FA turns down Cliftonville request not to play anthem

Saturday's Irish Cup final takes place at Windsor Park
Cliftonville will be aiming to win the Irish Cup for the first time since 1979 at Windsor Park
Tennent's Irish Cup final
Venue: Windsor Park, Belfast Date: Saturday, 5 May Kick-off: 14:30 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Two NI, BBC Radio Ulster and the BBC Sport website from 14:00

The Irish FA has turned down a plea from Cliftonville not to play the national anthem before Saturday's Irish Cup final against Coleraine.

An IFA statement said it had received a written request from Cliftonville.

"The members expressed sympathy for Cliftonville's position but decided the current board policy, agreed in August 2013 should stand," said the statement.

The statement added that the IFA board had "committed to conducting a future stakeholder review of the issue".

In 2013, the anthem was dropped from the Irish Cup final between Cliftonville and Glentoran after the IFA said it wanted to foster a "politically neutral environment" for the game.

A similar decision was taken in 2009 before the final between Cliftonville and north Belfast rivals Crusaders.

Cliftonville's support predominantly comes from the nationalist community and the north Belfast club are aiming to win the competition for the first time since 1979.

In response, Cliftonville said that they "noted" the IFA statement following the "decision of the majority of the IFA Board" and would be making no further comment on the issue until after Saturday's final.