On 13 November 1938, just months after his inauguration, President Douglas Hyde attended a soccer match between Ireland and Poland. In a passionate reaction, the GAA declared that by attending a ‘foreign game’, he had broken Rule 27 – the Ban – and they removed him as patron. One of the most controversial incidents in recent GAA history, it strained relations between the GAA and Éamon de Valera’s Fianna Fáil government. It also damaged the standing of the Ban and was used extensively by opponents to argue for its removal.
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