The East Terrace - For the rugby football enthusiast

Munster fans risking copyright infringement at European Cup final

Fields of Athenry
Cup final may face legal action

Posted 15th May, 2005

Munster fans could be barred from singing ‘The Fields of Athenry’ in Cardiff on May 20th as a result of a legal move by a group of fans from Connacht.

If the court case is not resolved by kick-off at the European Cup final, Munster fans willing on their team by singing the famous ballad will risk being liable for paying royalties and copyright fees.

Whilst ‘The Fields of Athenry’ has become strongly linked with the Munster team, it is a little known fact by those outside of Ireland that the song has it roots in County Galway, home of Connacht rugby.

This has upset many of the rugby fans of the west Ireland province and has led to the extraordinary action by one hardcore group of Connacht supporters. The group, calling themselves ‘Rugby Fans for Geographical and Melodic Awareness’ (RFGMA) are determined to reclaim ownership of the song for the people of ‘their area’.

‘Munster fans have no claims to this song,’ one Connacht supporter told The East Terrace. ‘The action may seem drastic, but we have to do something. These fields they sing of are not in Munster.’

Millennium Stadium officials, wary of being caught in a legal dispute, have confirmed that any Munster fans caught singing the folk song could be ejected from their seats and escorted from the ground. Officials are also urging spectators to bring credit cards to allow them to process instantly any royalty and copyright fees that might arise.

However, efforts to inform the large numbers of travelling Munster fans about the legal issue have been hampered by the difficulty lawyers have of locating them all prior to the final. Whilst anything up to 50,000 Munster supporters are expected to descend on Cardiff for the final, only around 8,000 fans were to be found at the most recent Celtic League clash at Thomond Park. Officials are mystified where the rest of the supporters can be found if not at Munster home games.

‘If anyone has any ideas how we can find these people to issue them with our writ,’ said a lawyer for RFGMA, ‘I’d be delighted to know, because they certainly aren’t at the Celtic League games.’

Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of the missing Munster fans are being urged to contact either the RFGMA or The East Terrace at webmaster@theeastterrace.com.