Date:Thursday April 5 2007
The Irish FA have replied to Southampton supporters who have emailed them in regard to the decision to ban Baird from playing in the match against Wolves.
The letter was published in the Echo and reads:
'Dear Southampton Supporters.
'You have taken the trouble to write to the IFA in high numbers, and I hope therefore, you will not mind my responding as a blanket email.
'I wrote to all Premier, Football League and Scottish Premier League Clubs on 20 July 2006, ahead of the present UEFA Qualifying Competition informing them that with regards to the Release of Players for International Duty the IFA would be invoking FIFA Article 40 throughout this campaign. That is a practice the IFA has also applied to Under 21 matches.
'The IFA has communicated properly with Southampton over this issue and I spoke personally to George Burley, whom I know well, from our time together at Ipswich Town Football Club.
'Whilst I accept, having read your emails, some more constructive than others, that this decision was disappointing to Southampton supporters, it was also applied to two other clubs this week and reflects IFA policy which we have applied consistently.
'I wish you well in the run in to the end of the season and hope that you make the play-offs.
Howard Wells, Chief Executive, Irish FA'
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