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Classic bunkum from the blazers

Chick Young | 00:40 UK time, Monday, 3 November 2008

The SFA clearly think they are anchored halfway between the Royal family and the Da Vinci Code.

Talk of bloodlines and gentlemen's agreements, clearly sealed over a large gin and tonic by some crusty old blazers after a meeting of the four home associations, belong to a different era.

You can just see them, huddling together in a dusty old London club over another large one, saying: "Let's keep this stoutly British. Never mind what the rest of the world is doing. Bloodlines it is, if you want to play for one of us."

What an anachronism.

The world has moved on. The planet is a melting pot now and the Scottish Football Association had better realise it.

peat_snslarge.jpgI'm not talking here about Nacho Novo, although it was the case of the Spaniard who highlighted the whole who-can-play-for-Scotland issue. Poor wee Nacho only answered a question about whether he fancied the gig.

He'll never play for Scotland and he knows it now, but thanks for the tin opener. The can of worms is burst open.

The association are wrong on two counts, first legally.

If there were a Bosman out there who wanted to drag them through the European Court of Human Rights they would be hung out to dry. "Gentlemen's agreements" don't wash, particularly when the identities of the gentlemen concerned have been lost in the mists of time.

Secondly it is morally and socially dreadfully off the mark.

Let us say that a family of refugees came to Scotland with a baby and settled here, embracing our culture as surely as we embraced their need.

The son grows up in Glasgow, has the accent and - as it happens - is pretty nifty at the beautiful game.

He drinks pints of heavy, likes a fish supper, wears a kilt and maybe even enjoys a game of bingo. He might still look African, but that lad is as Scottish as me, the Paps of Jura, a deep fried Mars Bar and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

And yet George Peat and his cronies say that, because he has no bloodline, he cannot pull on the dark blue jersey. No matter if he is the new Pele. In a lifetime of listening to utter bunkum from administrators of the game, this is a classic.

At the moment of course the association can play their get-out-of-jail free card, because there is no case to answer. Even Novo, given he doesn't actually have a British passport nor is a regular starter in the Rangers team, is a serious candidate.

And don't give me the tosh about the Tartan Army not accepting it. Nigel Quashie - EastEnders accent and all - was greeted with a chorus of "you're not English any more" when the support realised he could play a bit.

Scotland, as a football nation, is in reverse. We are parachuting down the FIFA rankings and South Africa looks further away than ever. Frankly we need all the help we can get.

If we can have German and English coaches then I cannot fathom the logic that says we cannot have an immigrant who has truly adopted this land as home, with or without the bloodline.

Even the House of Lords saw sense on that one. You achieve in life what you make of it on your own.

If I crook my neck and try my best to see from where the old buffers were coming then I suppose they were - in their day - trying to protect the image of the game. But times have changed and Scotland - and the UK - has opened it doors to people who now call this island their home.

And you are either in the gang or you are not.

The SFA are currently giving their full support to the Show Racism the Red Card campaign and bless them for that...but is it only me who sees a little irony here?

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