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The Nations Cup[1] (also called 4 Associations' Tournament or Celtic Cup)[1][2][3] was an association football tournament involving the national teams of Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It was contested once, in 2011. It was originally intended to be a biennial tournament, but poor attendance at the first tournament meant that it was discontinued.

Nations Cup
Nations Cup (football) logo.jpg
Founded 2009
Region Europe (UEFA)
Number of teams 4
Current champions  Republic of Ireland
Most successful team(s)  Republic of Ireland (1 title)
Television broadcasters Sky Sports



The tournament was initially proposed by then Northern Ireland manager Lawrie Sanchez in 2006.[4] On 18 September 2008, the national football associations of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland announced plans to hold an international tournament in 2011.[5] The tournament was due to start in 2009, but was delayed until 2011 due to 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying fixtures already being in place.[6]

It was announced on 12 August 2010 that the tournament would be sponsored by brewing company Carling, and known for sponsorship reasons as the Carling Nations Cup.[1][7] The inaugural tournament was played at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin in February and May 2011, and won by the Republic of Ireland. A second tournament was provisionally scheduled to take place in Wales in 2013.[8] After the first tournament, which attracted some small attendances, there was a dispute about the division of revenues between the four associations.[8] Jim Shaw, the president of the Irish Football Association, said in January 2012 that he did not envisage a second tournament being staged.[8]


The Nations Cup was structured as a round-robin, with each team playing each of the others once, resulting in a total of six games in each season of the competition.[1][2] Three of the teams involved (Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) had formerly competed in the now defunct British Home Championship, along with England.[4] The Football Association of Wales stated its belief in 2007 that England might have joined at a later date if they could have been convinced that there were "practical solutions" to problems like fixture congestion.[9] In early 2011, it was reported by BBC Sport that there was a possibility of the British Home Championship being revived in 2013,[10][11] but no tournament was held. The matches in the 2011 tournament were played in February and May, with the location due to rotate on a tournament-by-tournament basis.[12] Brittany also expressed an interest in taking part.[13]


The 2011 Nations Cup began in February 2011 at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.[2][14][15] The Republic of Ireland won the inaugural tournament after winning all three of their matches, culminating with a 1–0 win over Scotland on the final matchday.

Year Hosts Champions Second Third Fourth
2011   Republic of Ireland   Republic of Ireland   Scotland   Wales   Northern Ireland

Top goalscorersEdit

Year Top scorer Goals
2011   Robbie Keane 3


  1. ^ a b c d Forbes, Craig (13 August 2010). "England no great loss to Nations Cup, says Burley". Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "DATES ANNOUNCED FOR 4 ASSOCIATIONS' TOURNAMENT IN DUBLIN 2011". FAW. Retrieved 26 March 2009. 
  3. ^ "Dates announced for 4 Associations' Tournament in Dublin 2011". FAI. Retrieved 26 March 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "Sanchez wants Celtic tournament". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 12 December 2006. Retrieved 27 November 2007. 
  5. ^ Celtic nations to play 2011 event.
  6. ^ "'Four Nations' plan faces delay". BBC Sport. 11 April 2008. Retrieved 11 April 2008. 
  7. ^ "Carling to sponsor new Four Nations Football Tournament". Football Association of Ireland. 12 August 2010. Retrieved 12 August 2010. 
  8. ^ a b c "Northern Ireland set to pull out of Nations Cup". BBC Sport. BBC. 8 January 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  9. ^ "Home internationals resurrection edges a step closer". The Guardian. UK. 22 June 2007. Retrieved 22 June 2007. 
  10. ^ Slater, Matt (10 January 2011). "Vauxhall tie-ins herald return for British Championship". BBC Sport. Retrieved 10 January 2011. 
  11. ^ "FA says home internationals will be 'one-off'". BBC Sport. 11 January 2011. Retrieved 11 January 2011. 
  12. ^ "Celtic Cup given go-ahead". Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 11 April 2008. Retrieved 24 June 2008. 
  13. ^ Scotland could compete in new Celtic Nations Cup in Brittany.
  14. ^ "Celtic nations to play 2011 event". BBC Sport. 18 September 2008. Retrieved 18 September 2008. 
  15. ^ "Nations Cup revives memories of banter, blood and thunder". BBC News. 10 February 2011. Retrieved 11 February 2011. 

External linksEdit