Northern Ireland to Host World Cup Trophy

Football's top prize will be present for premiere of 1986 national side film 'Shooting For Socrates' during Belfast Film Festival

Northern Ireland hosting the World Cup isn't something you would imagine possible, not least this very month. But in recognition of former IFA chief Jim Boyce's FIFA Vice Presidency coming to an end, the most coveted prize in sport will be in attendance at the premiere screening of Shooting For Socrates at the Waterfront Hall on April 24.

Inspired by retired Northern Ireland international David Campbell, the film – written by playwright Marie Jones – follows the national team's 1986 campaign in Mexico through the eyes of a nine year-old supporter, leading to Northern Ireland's momentous encounter with Brazil, in which Campbell made his debut.

'Jim Boyce is much admired in world football, and to have been granted the honour of Jim and the FIFA World Cup Winners Trophy being present at the gala premiere of this movie is amazing,' Campbell said of the screening's guests of honor in a Sky Sports interview.

Current FIFA President Sepp Blatter has given his personal approval for the iconic trophy being on hand for the occasion, while numerous players who were part of the 1986 side, including Pat Jennings and Sammy McIllroy, are also expected to be present for the event, which is taking place as part of this year's Belfast Film Festival.

Speaking to Culture NI during the early stages of the film's production, screenwriter Marie Jones said: 'To be able to do something really positive after so many films about the Troubles and a very negative side of this country – while they have a place and are very important – is just wonderful. It’s a really feel good story, a real David and Goliath story. It was a joy to write.'

Shooting For Socrates premieres at the Waterfront Hall as part of the Belfast Film Festival on April 24. For more information and the full programme of events visit our festivals section.