1980–81 British Home Championship
The 1980-81 British Home Championship was the only British Home Nations international football championship outside of the years of the First World War and Second World War which was not completed and thus failed to produce a winner. As with the rugby union 1972 Five Nations Championship, the cause of this cancellation was The Troubles in Northern Ireland. The championship was scheduled to be played in May 1981 after the termination of the domestic season. On 5 May, however, the Provisional Irish Republican Army hunger strike leader Bobby Sands died in the Maze Prison, invoking a storm of protest and violence by republicans in Northern Ireland. Thus the English and Welsh FAs, whose teams were scheduled to travel to Windsor Park later in the month, declined to play, rendering the tournament incomplete and void.
Scotland were the only team to complete all their matches, including defeating Northern Ireland in Glasgow, and were in a strong position, having also beaten England. Wales had beaten Scotland and played a tame draw with England and so too would have claimed victory with a win or draw in Belfast. England had lost one and drawn one and were not in a challenging position, whilst Northern Ireland lost their only game. Five months later, in October 1981, Scotland were able to play a qualifying match for the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Northern Ireland without significant difficulties.
The points system worked as follows:
- 2 points for a win
- 1 point for a draw
The teams would then have been divided on goal difference
19 May 1981
|Scotland||2 – 0||Northern Ireland|
|Ray Stewart, Steve Archibald||Report (page 22)|
23 May 1981
|England||0 – 1||Scotland|
|Report||John Robertson (P)|