Delaney (left) with Michel Platini (right). INPHO/Donall Farmer

'UEFA award will be dedicated to James Nolan,' says Delaney

The parents of the Ireland fan who tragically lost his life in Poland have agreed to accept it, the FAI have confirmed.

THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION of Ireland have announced that the parents of James Nolan will accept an award from UEFA on behalf of Irish supporters.

The 21-year-old from Blessington, Co Wicklow, was one of the thousands of fans who travelled to Poland for this month’s European championships but went missing in Bydgoszcz before he was tragically found dead in a river five days later.

FAI John Delaney, goalkeeper Shay Given and Claudine Keane, wife of Robbie, attended the funeral last week and after today’s news that Michel Platini is planning to come to Ireland to present Irish fans with a special award for their behaviour at Euro 2012, it has been confirmed that James’ family have agreed to collect it.

“Irish supporters deserve this award for their incredible commitment, behaviour and friendliness during the tournament,” said Delaney, in a statement released on the FAI’s website. “They did the country proud and added something really special to the championships.

“I thank UEFA for their recognition and I am glad that the award will be accepted by James Nolan’s parents whose tragic loss left all Irish fans deeply saddened after the tournament.”

“They were a credit to the country and won praise everywhere they went in Poland, striking up a great relationship with everyone they met,” said FAI president Paddy McCaul. “I am glad that the award will be dedicated to James Nolan whose passing has touched us all.”

James’ father Jimmy added: ”I am deeply touched by this. It is a great honour and I would like to thank the amazing support that we have received at this difficult time from supporters in Ireland every part of the world.”

Speaking of behalf of Irish supporters’ group, You Boys in Green, Ger Keville said: ”Every single fan I have spoken to was incredibly proud of the Irish support In Poland, staying behind the team through thick and thin.

“Irish fans struck up a great rapport with everyone in Poland and the fact that our site got 46,000 visits from Polish fans who are still singing our songs says it all. On behalf of supporters, it is fitting that that this award will be in memory of James Nolan whose tragic death was a great loss to us all.”

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