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Will the GB football teams be united at 2012?

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Paul Fletcher | 22:45 UK time, Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Football will kick off the London 2012 Olympics when the women's competition starts at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on 25 July, two days before the official opening ceremony.

The men's and women's competitions will each involve 28 nations from six confederations playing at six venues across England, Scotland and Wales.

Granted a place as the host nation, it will be the first time that Great Britain & Northern Ireland has entered a football team in the men's competition since 1960, and the debut appearance for the women since its introduction in 1996.

But as a BBC Radio 5 Live special Team GB United will discuss at 2000 GMT on Thursday, there are more questions than answers about the two teams that will represent the home nations next year.

Top of the list is the thorny and, so far, divisive issue of whether all of the home nations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will come together.

Wales duo Aaron Ramsey (left) and Gareth Bale

Could Wales duo Ramsey and Bale feature in the GB team in 2012? Photo: PA

Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have made it clear they do not want their players to participate. Their argument is that involving them at the games could jeopardise their independent status with world football's ruling body Fifa. Currently they participate as individual nations at the World Cup and European Championship and are granted an automatic seat on the eight-man International Football Association Board.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has tried to assuage their fears, promising during the 125th International Football Association Board (IFAB) conference in early March that the home nations' independence would not be compromised by a joint GB team.

But Football Association of Wales chief executive Jonathan Ford epitomised the doubts of the Celtic nations when he said: "I absolutely took on board Mr Blatter's comments. They were very well received. But Mr Blatter is one person within many in Fifa.

"Ultimately, we want to ensure that we are protected, both now and in the future, and to ensure that we have a Welsh team competing at the highest level possible, representing our country going forth in the European Championship and World Cup."

Former Scottish Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith has other reservations. He told BBC Radio 5 live that he felt the Olympics should be the pinnacle of any sport but that was not the case with football. He also argued that it could be seen as morally wrong to have age limits at the Olympics. The football tournament is essentially an Under-23 competition for the men, with each squad allowed three players over the age of 23, while the women's tournament has no age restrictions.

The British Olympic Association has given the English Football Association the responsibility of putting the squads together. There is a similar situation in hockey, where England, the highest ranked of the home nations, organise and run the GB Olympic team. The BOA is extremely keen for the football teams to be all inclusive, comprising players from all the home nations.

"The BOA has said that [the football plans] are not acceptable as it stands because it is prejudicial, so we are working through an alternative selection process," said English FA general secretary Alex Horne.

One possible tactic to allay the fears of the Scottish, Welsh and Irish has been put forward by former Irish FA president Jim Boyce, who on 1 June will start a four-year term as Britain's new Fifa vice-president. He is prepared to lobby the Fifa executive committee to introduce a statute that will protect the status of the home nations if they participate in the Olympics on a one-off basis as a unified Great Britain side.

But Smith has made it clear that he does not think there will be a change of heart from the Celtic nations, particularly the entrenched views held north of the border.

"We had meetings with the four home nations when I was with the SFA," said Smith, who stepped down from his role in April 2010. "It was said that it would be an English team in the Olympics - and that it would be made very clear that Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales were not part of it. I do not see any way back from that."

Thursday's Team GB United programme will be hosted by former English FA executive director David Davies. He represented football on the BOA council from 1998 until 2006 and was keen to see a GB football team as part of the ultimately successful bid to bring the 2012 Olympics to London.

"I do not think that anybody would deny that in this situation politics and sport is colliding," said Davies. "There are very strong views on both sides.

"The question we have to ask is whether some of the players are finding themselves caught in the middle and how fair is that?"

Argentine duo Lionel Messi (left) and Sergio Aguero celebrate winning the Olympic football tournament in 2008.

Argentina won gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Photo: Getty Images

The Olympics could be the highest stage on which some GB players get to perform at international level. Since Scotland qualified for France 98, only England of the home nations has a senior men's team that has reached a major finals. Northern Ireland have not been to one since the 1986 World Cup. For Wales you have to go way back to 1958. At the London Olympics the Welsh could provide players such as Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale, who has already expressed an interest in playing at the Games.

There have been reports that several women footballers from Scotland have been seeking legal advice to establish whether there would be repercussions if they participated at the Olympics - and it appears there is nothing to stop the BOA from selecting players from all of the home nations, regardless of the stance of respective associations.

A decision is expected this summer on the identity of the men's coach. England Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce has been strongly linked with the role, as has current Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, who will feature on the Radio 5 live programme. Current England boss Hope Powell is the favourite to land the women's role but once again there is no exact timeframe in place for any appointment.

A BOA representative told me that they are continuing to hold discussions with the English FA regarding the GB team. They are hoping to resolve any issues as quickly as possible, especially with regard to selection criteria and other issues such as the naming of a coach.

The BOA has yet to receive the Olympic Qualifying Standard document from Fifa and the International Olympic Committee that will help them ensure that any GB football teams entered in the competition come up to scratch in terms of credible on-field performers and off-field legacy plans.

At some point this year it is expected that a long-list of potential players will be named for both squads. It will be fascinating to see whether they contain players from all of the home nations and, if they do, how the associations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland react.

The schedule for the two football competitions have been released but with many qualifying competitions not scheduled to finish until 2012 we will not know who will play where, against whom and when for quite some time.

And even less certain is who will be in the Great Britain teams hoping to win their first Olympic football medals since an amateur men's side struck gold in Sweden in 1912.

Team GB United will be broadcast on BBC Radio 5 live on Thursday 24 March between 2000 and 2130 GMT

Comments

Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    All seems like petty politics from the associations involved, if FIFA approve team GB and won't upset the future of being seen as independent, where is the problem ?

    Maybe team GB is the way forward, germany didn't stay divided when reuninfication occured, is it just associations being narrow minded and looking after number one ?

  • Comment number 2.

    The 'pinnacle of the sport' argument is a nonsense. If the World Cup is the pinnacle, then what's the point of the European Championships, African Cup of Nations, etc.
    The fact of the matter is that this is a major international football tournament and should be treated as such.
    I would love to see a combined GB Team rather than just English players so I hope the other nations get the assurances they seek and commit fully.

  • Comment number 3.

    Olympic football should be struck off the register. It's a terrible idea. The Olympics is for amateurs, but as it is also supposed to be for the best in the world in their discipline, football has no place there. Besides, the Olympics is when the brilliant competitors from lesser known sports get to shine. We should let them do so without the shadow of multimillionaire media targets in the background.

  • Comment number 4.

    The Scottish and Welsh FAs obviously think there bigger football countries than they are. IT poor that they can't put there egos on hold for just one tournamant and get their players great experience playing in a competition with sides like Brazil, Argentina, Nigeria etc (as long as they qualify)

    It certainly shouldn't be just under 23's.

  • Comment number 5.

    Northern Ireland was not in Great Britain last time I checked.

  • Comment number 6.

    Does anyone think that a GB team will be filled with anything other than English players? Which is presumably why you've highlighted Gareth Bale, as the only non-English who would even be considered.
    I know some will consider this an anti-Celt post, but I think it's just the truth.

  • Comment number 7.

    Who really cares ... football at the olympics is a joke ... either have a proper team or none at all ! There is no way that premier league managers would want their best players there anyway with all the bleating after the last world cup that our team was knackered! The olympics are traditionally not a major soccer prize ... there is not the same passion .. and with the European championships and World Cup 2 years apart then where is the space to fit in effectively what would be another World Cup if it was to mean anything.

  • Comment number 8.

    All i will say is that if there were to be a GB team, it would consisit of 11 English (current England Squad) and a few Welsh, Scottish, Ireland (Both Northern {i know} and Republic) players active at training.

    Would be nice and who actually have a decent chance of winning if we could have the best from all in the GB team. Would work wonders around the internation teams currently in Britian we have.

  • Comment number 9.

    #5.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-12688705

    Northern Ireland have alreasy tried to address the issue of the 'Team GB' name.

    It should be Team GB&NI.

  • Comment number 10.

    I agree with some of the comments that we already have a football World Cup for players and countries at the pinnacle and there's no need to hand out Olympic gold medals as well. It seems that football at the Olympics has formed a youth tournament role, ostensibly for U-23s with a sprinkling of seniors involved.

    I also can see why Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales don't want to get involved in a Great Britain union. It sets a dangerous precedent. Even if FIFA give permission, there have been political rumbles for some time elsewhere that it seems unfair and strange that the UK has four international sides. It would definitely suit a lot of powerful people if we competed just as Great Britain, not least because of the many teams we now have in European and world qualifiers following the break-up of the Eastern bloc.

    Even though I'm english, I don't think that the other Celt nations in the UK are being petty or childish about refusing to compete as Great Britain in football. I think they are quite right to be worried about the dangers of that. It's something that Platini and Blatter would love to introduce for World Cup and European qualification, I assure you- only one chance to qualify rather than four (in theory). Bear that in mind.

  • Comment number 11.

    Team GB should be just that....GB. Also I really can't be bothered with more lacklustre England, and it might spice things up a bit! The U23 rule I like....no point international failures like Lamps and Gezzard should have another go, the new generation in British football has the chance to put its hand up.

    What should the team be (ignoring over 23 'exempt' players)??

    R. Taylor
    K. Walker
    C. Smalling
    A. Matthews
    K. Gibbs
    A. Johnson
    A. Ramsey
    J. Henderson
    G. Bale
    D. Welbeck
    D. Sturridge

    Potentially also!:
    J. Rodwell
    G. Hanley
    D. Wilson
    M. Albrighton
    B. Bannan
    H. Lansbury
    C. Wickham
    A. Oxlade-Chamberlain

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    Is there any reason why the Premier League could not be responsible for the UK team if the Scottish, Welsh and NI FAs do not go along with the UK idea. Just pick all the best young UK qualified players that are in Premier League teams - you could probably do it just from the big four - Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspurs, Chelsea and Arsenal alone!

  • Comment number 14.

    Proud Englishman here and would love to team up and have a fairly represented GB team with Wales and Scotland included. If they get their assurances of course. I'd like to see 1 senior player from each nation to make our allocation.

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    At present I think there is general support for a GB team to enter the Olympics and Olympics only from supporters, would that change if the GB team won the gold medal?
    I would rather see GB win the World Cup than England get to a Quarter Final with probably only one other home nation qualifying. Thoughts?

  • Comment number 17.

    Anyone who thinks olympic football is not taken seriously should take a look at how hard Brazil have tried to win a gold medal.

    If it is good enough for Brazil with their 5 world cup wins, then I am pretty sure it is good enough for everyone else.

  • Comment number 18.

    I have always felt that football in its current form shouldn't be at the Olympics, the Olympics is meant to be the pinnacle of the sport really. I think they should have five a side or seven a side football instead. Then it could be the pinnacle of that particular discipline of football. Obviously the problem is venues for this type of football, but then again if it becaame an Olympic sport the five a side or seven a side complex it was played in would get use pre, and post games. It would make the event different and may drum up more interest than football at the olympics currently does. I'm undecided however if it should have proffessional footballers over 23.

  • Comment number 19.

    The answer is very easy,: there should be no GB football team at the olympics in 2012. There has not been any GB team in past olympics, so why should there be 1 now, when at the next olympics the team will be scrapped?
    The the 4 countries involved are proud nations and would want to stay that way

  • Comment number 20.

    I completely agree with vix populi i believe ut would set a dangerous precedent - whatever blatter says platini & co would love an opportunity to reduce our influence in voting terms and qualifying. Also as was accurately pointed out its likely to be an english dominated team anyway apart from the odd celt

  • Comment number 21.

    Not that anyone will notice but I just want to say sorry for excluding NI out of my senior allocation list. Ref: Team GB&NI comment.

  • Comment number 22.

    The official name of the Olympic Squad is "Great Britain and Northern Ireland". The issue comes with the three letter abbreviation "GBR" (ignoring any Northern Irish influence). The whole name should be changed to "United Kingdom" and the 3 letter abbreviation to "UKG".

  • Comment number 23.

    I would rather see Team GB play a team of non-league or lower-league players; players who will most likely never represent their country, given the chance to represent us at a major sporting tournament. It would be fantastic to see young British professionals represent us at the Olympics, and many players have already come out in saying that they would love to be part of Team GB.

  • Comment number 24.

    It is sad that as a group of nations we can't work together for a one off event. In Rugby there has been a long history of the British Lions playing together but this has never threatened the independence of the home nation rugby teams. If we could have worked together it would have shown the strengths of the current set-up and that strong independent national teams can work together for a special event. However what will threaten the independence of these football associations is showing the world that we don't have the best interests of the players or fans at heart but are more interested in power games and petty politicking. If this is the case then FIFA might well impose something new.

  • Comment number 25.

    the little countries have their assurances. the real question is why they would insist they deserve a permanent seat. they are irrelevant in world terms.

    their focus should be on developing players to a level where a gb team could be diverse.

  • Comment number 26.

    The problem to me (as a Scot) that I read into the "no" votes from the SFA, FAW and IFA for Team UK (or GB&NI whatever you're choosing is) is that while Blatter has said it will be a one-off, he is less trustworthy than most of our politicians!

    Football is part of the Olympics, of that we know, however there is no requirement for a UK team to take part and, indeed, on only one occasion has a UK side qualified for this tournament since qualifying came into place, being Scotland in 1992. They were not allowed to take part as there was not a single FA to cover the nations of GB&NI.

    If it is so important, send England's team into the tournament and watch them lose out on penalties. The rest of us can have a hearty chuckle and say that the tournament was a waste of time.

  • Comment number 27.

    Why would Northern Ireland want to be involved when we are ignored in the very name of the team? The olympic team represents the whole of the UK, including Northern ireland. 'Team GB' is both inaccurate and offensive to the many athletes from Northern ireland who compete with pride for the UK team. The BBC have a responsibility to use a more accurate description of the team. It is not a GB team it is a UK team or GB&NI.

  • Comment number 28.

    @19

    Why does not having done it in the past affect why we should or shouldn't be doing it now? That's like saying BMXing should never have been introduced because it never used to be in the olympics.

    "The the 4 countries involved are proud nations and would want to stay that way"

    We may all be proud nations, but pretty much everyone who I know and most people I've seen commenting on here and 606 want a proper GB&NI squad so I don't know who you're getting that from.

  • Comment number 29.

    I have a simple view of this - if the Welsh/Scottish/Norther Irish FA's won't release their players, then the matches should be taken away from their Stadiums.

    They're quite happy with the revenue they'll recieve from games at the Millenium Stadium etc, more than happy to be part of GB in that sense, but not when asking for their players. Slightly hypocritic in my opinion.

  • Comment number 30.

    This is a nonsense argument, and a historical folly that should be done away with. There is as much reason to have separate teams for the "Home Nations" as there is for the provinces of Belgium to have separate teams, such as teams representing not Belgium but Flanders and Wallonia. If there is to be any sort of equivalence then this should be the case – I am sure we can all think of other examples (in Spain, for example) but why should the UK be a special case any more? We should also consider this in the context of how eastern European and Balkan countries have realigned themselves as nationa in recent years.

    But we get special pleading from a group of "Home Nations" that will never achieve anything of worth separately, and we get the Little England mentality that will be against this - if I remember rightly, England is not a "Nation" but a part of a nation - that nation is the UK, and we should have a UK football team.

    As an aside, I think it is a joke to talk about the “England National Team” in this context. How can a nation (in this case, the UK) be represented by only a part of itself, and a part that in the hands of the average England football fan a part that is openly hostile and often xenophobic to the other parts? Why should we be in thrall to petty xenophobia and jingoism any longer? (...if you can indeed be xenophobic against people from the same country!!!)

    Work this out for yourselves, with any player that come to mind, but a UK team in the 1970s - 1980s that combined whichever English players might be adequate with the likes of Dalglish, Rush, Souness, Hansen, Whiteside, or from a previous generation - can you imagine how good a team would be with Best, Law and Charlton playing in it at the same time (oh, hang on...); or, in more recent years, how players like Ryan Giggs would enhance the frankly over-rated and under-achieving England "national" sides of recent decades? It would also see a dilution of the often xenophobic Enger-Land mentality that the London-centric media seems to wallow in.

    A UK team is not really for discussion – it is anachronistic and out of date to sustain the mediocre Home “Nations” – the Home Regions would be a better title. And, let’s be honest –when we talk about “International” football, that usually involves matches between TWO countries – how does that work when only regions of a country play, or play each other? Does that really count as an “international”, or is it another example of the petty xenophobia that tells us without evidence or substance that we are better than the “foreigners” – which, by ludicrous definitions above, includes people within our own country?!

  • Comment number 31.

    Will the team GB be supported WHEN 'God save the Queen' is played for all 4 nations?
    In most instances i would say not a problem, but i think football is different....
    Each country has their own National Anthem, which represents them on the world stage. Not sure how it will work with the English anthem taking centre stage??!

  • Comment number 32.

    Not for me. But then I'd much rather Scotland competed as a separate country in all Olympic events.

  • Comment number 33.

    It is easy to see why Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are worried. FIFAs newest guidelines means that they will only let countries who are UN members join, which would exclude them as separate entities if they were to try and join today. It's not long before someone suggests that they have too much influence within both IFAB and FIFA. So the smaller home nations are protecting themselves for the meantime, which makes sense.

    I wrote a piece a couple of weeks ago on the same subject if anyone fancies reading it. http://goodfeetforabigman.com/2011/03/17/team-gb-olympic-football-not-great-for-everyone/

  • Comment number 34.

    Assurances from Sepp Blatter that home nation involvement in Team GB (an erroneous title anyway) won't be prejudicial to independance down the line should be taken for what his assurances in the past on other matters have proved to be. I, for one, won't be embarrassed that the London Olympics won't have a GB football team, especially considering where the games are planning to be held! St James Park? Hampden?? When have these ever been in London.

    Another farcical result for BOA.

  • Comment number 35.

    Surely the Olympics would be a good opportunity to test out youngsters who are on the fringe's of their international squads and see what they can do in competitive matches against the upcoming talent across the world?

    How big is the coincidence that 3 of the final 4 teams from the last games of Argentina, Brazil and Belgium have good youth players coming through and actually moving in to their first teams? I can't comment on Nigeria as I don't know much about their squad tbh.

    After the World Cup there was lots of talk of England giving more opportunities to their young players and getting rid of the old guard. Surely the Olympics where it's practically under 23's gives you just that?
    I can understand the views of Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland as they want to protect what's in their best interest for the long term, but if a way can be found to allow a GB team to happen and they are protected, then again surely this would be a great opportunity for their younger players to get experience playing against the best young players in a competitive environment?

  • Comment number 36.

    Great article Paul. Glad you mentioned IFAB, which to me is the key thing in all this - this is the board that controls the rules of the game. Their participation means that FIFA can't alter how football is played unilaterally. If they go away, and big Sepp decides that overtime multi-ball is a brilliant idea, there wouldn't be any process of stopping him.

    So it's not just the fact that fewer teams would suit FIFA (the reasons for which are eloquently summed up by Vox Populi above) - Sepp actually stands to gain more power over world football by GB becoming one Association. For the good of the game, as well as for our own sakes, I think we need to be strong on this one. Not worth it for an U23 tourney.

  • Comment number 37.

    "Olympic football should be struck off the register. It's a terrible idea. The Olympics is for amateurs, but as it is also supposed to be for the best in the world in their discipline, football has no place there. Besides, the Olympics is when the brilliant competitors from lesser known sports get to shine. We should let them do so without the shadow of multimillionaire media targets in the background."

    So Asafa Powell and Usain Bolt are not professional sportsman on millions of pounds a year then? No i bet when the Olympics isnt on their in a factory putting together rubber chickens. Each sport has different rules. Boxing doesnt allow pro boxers as it would stop the development of young talent. Athletics has the top pro athletes mixed in with the rank amateurs. Football, because of its mass popularity is generally a professional sport. You can argue it should be removed because of that but then so should Basketball and Tennis. The problem though is that the Olympics i no longer about amateur sportsman. Its a celebration of the greatest sportsman in the world in their respective fields, barring boxing. So unless youre going to completely reshape the structure of the whole event, football should stay

  • Comment number 38.

    Sports like football, tennis and golf should not be included in the Olympics as all of these sports have other more important competitions for the participants. If the Olympic Committee want to include them they should apply to amateurs only.

  • Comment number 39.

    Can anyone explain for me why the Celtic nations are quite so paranoid about the possiblity of losing their independent status - surely the fact that, for example, Andorra are allowed to compete on the world stage (a 'principality' of Spain with no separate league of their own) means that countries with the rich footballing histories of N. Ireland, Wales and particularly Scotland have absolutely nothing to fear.

    Or am I missing something?

  • Comment number 40.

    "I would rather see Team GB play a team of non-league or lower-league players; players who will most likely never represent their country, given the chance to represent us at a major sporting tournament. It would be fantastic to see young British professionals represent us at the Olympics, and many players have already come out in saying that they would love to be part of Team GB."

    It would be fantastic to see the likes of Messi run rings around our guys and stuff them 17-0?

    TBH i think it should be an U23 tournament. And it should ONLY be U23s. Be nice to see a team of Walcott, Bale, Ramsey et al. But the Welsh are obviously not coming down from their high horse so fat chance of that happening.

    It is quite funny how they say they dont want their chances to showcase themselves in the Euros and the World Cup threatened. Well no threat there because you wont qualify for either. The reason why Bale wants to play for team GB is because itll be the only chance of international silverware hell ever have the chance of winning

  • Comment number 41.

    Now then,

    Thanks for your thoughts so far - if nothing else, it is already very, very clear that this is a subject people feel strongly about, either for or against.

    Chris (post 17) - Brazil are one of just two teams to have already qualified for the men's comp, along with Uruguay. Defending champions Argentina will not be there. GB is given its place as hosts.

    I think it is also interesting when talking about the GB team, which of course includes Northern Ireland, about the attitude of the Premier League and its clubs. Some of the home nations could well be at Euro 2012 next summer and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger recently described Olympics football as a nuisance.

  • Comment number 42.

    No.3 has this bang on . . . the Olympics is for amateurs, therefore let the England, Wales, Scotland and N. Ireland amateur team take part . . . therefore removing the 'stress' the footballing bodies seem to be under to keep their individual status within FIFA . . . jeez, like the professionals need more games at the top level . . . not that I care about them one jot, greedy, overpaid and over here etc . . . but that's another argument for another day . . .

  • Comment number 43.

    Nobody will be there to watch it (tickets are more expensive than premiership matches). Nobody cares who wins it. It's only happening in the first place because the people in charge of the olympics see it as an easy source of revenue.

  • Comment number 44.

    It's always football isn't it where self interest dictates above the good of the sport?
    Athletics seems to manage to have a predominantly GB team with separate countries competing occasionally. Rugby Union does as well. But apparently in football it's imperative to keep the national identity. Or is it that the people invovled want to have the payment and power that comes with their needless jobs?

  • Comment number 45.

    wenger is right that olympic football is a nuisance, but let's be honest... international football is a nuisance. pretty sure all anyone cares about this week-end is whether rooney/terry/wilshere/bale/er.... milner? (delete as applicable) gets injured. except fans of small teams who will never win the champions league (the premier competition in world football). and the olympics should be for these people. so... do away with international football and keep the olympics for the smalltimers. everyone is happy, no?

  • Comment number 46.

    This is hilarious. The Scottish FA is acting like they have Scottish players to compete. Whilst Wales have a couple of quality players, the rest of the squad will come from England. Can we make do without Wales contributing? Yes, there’s no doubt.

    In fact, there will be “token” players picked from Scotland and NI if they were to join the party, and that would only weaken Team GB’s chances of a medal. So lets hope the Celts FA’s maintain their stubborn attitudes.

  • Comment number 47.

    "At present I think there is general support for a GB team to enter the Olympics and Olympics only from supporters"

    Oh really? So why is it then that the official supporters associations of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England are vehemently opposed, and are joined in a combined campaign to oppose Team GB??

    The real politics at play here is the constant pressure from those with absolutely nothing to do with football (Coe, Reedie, Moynihan etc) when they have been given a clear answer from the FA's who have a binding agreement in place (ie: England will field the team). What part of 'No' are they not understanding I wonder.

    I can assure you that the overwhelming majority of football (and specifically Scotland) fans want absolutely nothing to do with this nonsense.

    Finally anyone who places trust in anything which comes out of Sepp Blatters mouth needs their head examined. The same Sepp Blatter who could be voted out of power soon presumably too.

  • Comment number 48.

    I'm tired of this on-going saga. Can someone just come out now and say YES or NO to Team GB football?! I don't care if the squad is made up of 11 Scots, Welsh or English, I just want a team. The Olympic Games are being held in this country and won't be again for probably another 100 years, and certain football associations don't seem to realise the importance and privilege of this.
    If I were a professional footballer eligible to play next year I'd be itching to play and would be riling at the idea of some old guys turning their noses up against it.

    In fact if the respective FA's say no, then how about some of us Sunday footballers get a team together ourselves? I will happily organise it.

  • Comment number 49.

    I think we all know the real reason why the Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh FA's are stubbornly refusing to agree to a united GB team - none of their players barring Wales' Gareth Bale would get into the team. It would be 10 English players + Bale.

  • Comment number 50.

    ANY SCOTTISH PLAYER PUTTING HIS OR HER NAME FOWARD FOR TEAM GB WILL BE SHUNNED AND SHAMED BY THE SFA AND THE SCOTTISH FANS.

    THE RISK OF SCOTLAND LOSING THEIR INTERNATIONAL STATUS IS TOO GREAT.

  • Comment number 51.

    @39 Shacky Tauro

    As mentioned elsewhere, this isn't about not wanting to play in the same team as other nations, this is about maintaining autonomy with FIFA for the home nation footballing associations. They'd be idiotic to set a precedent for a single league structure within the UK, something that the apparently arrogant English commentators on this thread would do well to remember. The SFA and FAW vote with the FA on most matters, something that would be lost if FIFA imposed a single nation status on all home nations.

    With comments like #46, however, why WOULD the home nations want to play in that team? It would appear that England would win it on their own as they have so many other international competitions.

  • Comment number 52.

    #'s 45 & 46 just strengthen the argument against this folly. If this is symptomatic of the thinking of those this 'Team' then where's the issue here - just go and have your wee England/GB team and leave us in peace to support our National Teams. Simples?

  • Comment number 53.

    @ crazy-cymro

    God Save the Queen is the anthem of the UK, it is England that does not have an anthem of it's own, therefore adopts God Save the Queen. At the Commonwealth Games where the 'Home Nations' compete separately, England have had picked various songs, I seem to remember a BBC article discussing what the England anthem should be for the most recent Commonwealth Games, Land of Hope & Glory, Jerusalem or sticking with God Save the Queen

  • Comment number 54.

    "At present I think there is general support for a GB team to enter the Olympics and Olympics only from supporters"

    Really? News to me. As all four supporters clubs have stated they are against Team GB.

    For me Olympics are about the smaller sports, athletics, gymnastics, rowing, cycling etc. There is no need for a football team and we already have three of the biggest tournaments in world sport - The World Cup, European Championships and The Champions League.

    The four nations are proud supporters of their countries, if you have any doubt about that then feel free to ask the 65k fans at the Millenium Stadium on Saturday or the 20k Scots who will descend on the Emirates this Sunday.

  • Comment number 55.

    Perhaps the best solution would be to make Olympic Football the pinnacle of amateur sports in the way that it is done with others. Note that although money is derived from success at Olympic level (from sponsorships etc.), none of the other athletes competing at Olympic level gets a salary for competing in their sport, unlike football. The solution could be to only allow amateur footballers to play, ie footballers who do not earn a salary from playing football. I'm sure none of those would have a problem with 'Team GB'.

    On a side note GB Midfield: Bale, Ramsey, Wilshere, Walcott........just saying.

  • Comment number 56.

    I can't see why they couldn't have had a one off competition between the 4 UK home nations and the winner of it, represents the UK at the Olympics.

  • Comment number 57.

    Some of you are suggesting that team GB can do without Wales, Scotland and N.Ireland as they are smaller nations. BUT... It would not be team GB without them, and will further decrease the support for such a team. If team GB become a young England side, i would not be suprised to see the supporters of GB shout for the opposition - Thats football!
    I can see some English supporters say 'how childish' etc etc, but that is football, and can you expect anything else from the Celtic nations when they have little to no representation?

    Each Home nation provides the same amount of players to the squad, with a minimum of 2 players starting from each nation. Its only a development team mainly anyhow, so let the young ones of all four countries play - regardless of winning the gold or not.

  • Comment number 58.

    So with Rugby we have a Lions tour and the Celtic nations never worry about this, why should it be any different with football? It just seems to me that the Celts are making much ado about nothing!

  • Comment number 59.

    UEFA likes the fact that the UK has four football associations as it gives them three extra votes in FIFA matters. If, at some time in the future, there is pressure from the non-European FIFA federations for the UK to have it's special footballing situation abolished, the fact of a Team UK at 2012 will be used as an argument for combining the four UK football associations.

    This would then mean a combined UK football league. This would mean an 6-8 tier league with an English dominated top flight. Many smaller clubs would go to the wall. And how many Torquay fans will travel to Inverness, or Derry? The combined UK league would not receive additional Champions League or Europa places. This would effectively mean no European football for Celtic or Rangers. There would be a combined UKFA Cup too with the final at Wembley. Scottish football would lose its identity. (Welsh football doesn't have an identity due to Cardiff and Swansea playing in the English League).

    The emotional attachment to football is such that I could see this resulting in the Scots voting for national independence. And then who gets the North Sea oil? Would a Scottish Navy fight to defend oil fields in the event of a dispute? It could result in War. People could die. And all because Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey want to take the slim chance of winning a Bronze Medal.

  • Comment number 60.

    ' Could Wales duo Ramsey and Bale feature in the GB team in 2012 '

    Seems like the English FA are trying to find other ways to get the England Team to win a trophy .. Wouldnt bet against the starting line up consisting of 9 English Players plus Ramsey and Bale and a few Scottish and N.Irish players coming on with 5 minutes left .

  • Comment number 61.

    Best of luck to Team England in the soccer competition. An English Olympics should be graced by an English soccer team.

    Let's hope the English soccer fans don't disgrace their proud nation, like they have done numerous times in the past. All things considered, the other member countries in the UK are backing a successful English team.

  • Comment number 62.

    @39 - Andorra is not a principality of Spain. Its a co-regent state between France and Spain but for all intents and purposes its a sovereign state.

    And yeah, Andorra does have its own football league actually.

  • Comment number 63.

    There is also another problem for the BOA. I think I am right in saying football clubs do not have to release players to play football in the Olympics next year. Players have to be released for the European Championships which take place between June-July 2012 as well as World Cups, however, the Olympics are not looked at in the same way.

  • Comment number 64.

    Can anyone explain for me why the Celtic nations are quite so paranoid about the possiblity of losing their independent status - surely the fact that, for example, Andorra are allowed to compete on the world stage (a 'principality' of Spain with no separate league of their own) means that countries with the rich footballing histories of N. Ireland, Wales and particularly Scotland have absolutely nothing to fear.

    Or am I missing something?

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    We hold posts on the international council and each of the home nations is represented. There is nothing more the likes of jack warner would like than to remove the 4 votes we have at the present to 1. Hence why they haven't brought out a statute guaranteeing this, which blatter promised gordon brown he would recieve. We don't even have the same government now so it shows how much willingness there is within fifa to protect this status!

    Guarantee this and i would have no objection to a team GB at all and i never have done.


    Does anyone think that a GB team will be filled with anything other than English players? Which is presumably why you've highlighted Gareth Bale, as the only non-English who would even be considered.
    I know some will consider this an anti-Celt post, but I think it's just the truth.


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This is another issue that doesn't help the cause. Do you actually know any of the young scots/welsh/n.irish boys who play at the moment? If it will just be english then why bother with all this hassle! It would be ridiculous to make all this fuss (lets be honest the BOA are the only ones pushing) and then just select a squad of englishmen anyway.


    Maybe team GB is the way forward, germany didn't stay divided when reuninfication occured, is it just associations being narrow minded and looking after number one ?

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I think the reunification of germany is more than a little different. The had a united team that had competed at world cups, there has never been a GB team representative at anything other than the olympics and that stopped in 1960 as no one cared.


    The Scottish and Welsh FAs obviously think there bigger football countries than they are. IT poor that they can't put there egos on hold for just one tournamant and get their players great experience playing in a competition with sides like Brazil, Argentina, Nigeria etc (as long as they qualify)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ok so you would be happy for say england to join a euro team, then after the tournament fifa then turns round as says actually why are you all seperate countries when you can appear as the euro's at every major international tournament from then on. I am sure you would be jumping at the opportunity! It is hardly ego to want to remain as an independent football country as we have always existed and in fact it is the ego of the english to insist that we have a team as they would be the only country unnaffected by a unification as they are the most populous and woud make up the bulk of the squad.

    Sepp blatter told gordon brown he would deliver the guarantee in 2008 and a year before the olympics no such document has arrived, i think this backs up the concerns of the celtic nations. We may never make a tournament again any of us but we want the chance to try.

  • Comment number 65.

    If Team England do compete, has Seb Coe worked out the additional costs and resources needed, such as extra mounted police, anti-riot squads and water canon units?

  • Comment number 66.

    Maybe team GB is the way forward, germany didn't stay divided when reuninfication occured, is it just associations being narrow minded and looking after number one ?
    --------------------------------------------------------

    This isn't Germany. Germany is one country. We are four countries with strong national identities.

    Scotland doesn't want it, Wales doesn't want it and NI doesn't want it. No amount of whining from Seb Coe and pals is going to change that. Get over it and move on.

    If you want reasons I can give you plenty.

    1. We've always competed separately and as a scotland fan I wouldn't want to support anyone other than Scotland.

    2. England is our rival. Would you ask the Glasgow or Manchester teams to merge.

    3. Football at the olympics is ridiculous. It has it's own big tournaments and will only serve as a distraction from the sports the olympics are about. For most olympic sports the is the pinnacle of their success. For football it isn't.

    4. We've never needed a team before, why is everyone getting so cut up about it now? If this was being held in any other country no one would be bothered.

  • Comment number 67.

    Why use players from the proffesional game. Pick non league players and give them a chance to play with no disrepect to their leagues and cup tournaments, this could be Their 'pinnacle'

  • Comment number 68.

    Was thinking about this, I reckon the team should be: (where the over-23's are indicated by (>)) and the formation is a 4-5-1, with 2 attacking wingers and 1 holding midfielder.

    GK Joe Hart (>) (Need someone experienced between the sticks)
    DR Micah Richards
    DC Chris Smalling
    DC John Terry (>) (Need someone experienced to organise Team GB from the back)
    DL Kieron Gibbs
    CDM Jack Rodwell
    CM Jack Wilshere
    CM Aaron Ramsey
    RAM Theo Walcott
    LAM Gareth Bale
    FW Wayne Rooney (>) (Can play the lone striker role better than most others in world football, if in form, probably Englands best player)

    With notable substitutes like: Jordan Henderson, Marc Albrighton, Daniel Sturridge, Andy Carroll and possible Adam Johnson, if eligible. (Not sure at what date you have to be 23, in order to be considered 23 and under). Anyway looks like a v.good team, but mostly English players with Ramsey and Bale holding the fort for the Welsh. Why not just get the Welsh FA onside along with the English FA, who needs the Scottish and Northern Irish ?

  • Comment number 69.

    I'm tired of this on-going saga. Can someone just come out now and say YES or NO to Team GB football?
    -------------------------------------
    The Scottish, NI and Welsh FAs have already said NO. As far as we're concerned there is no ongoing saga. It's decided, done and dusted.

    Only Coe and the press are dragging this out. I don't know what they expect to achieve. They won't change our minds. If anything the constant groaning is pushing us further away.

    If he wants to submit an England only team then go ahead but don't expect anyone to turn up at Hampden or Millenium stadium to watch them.

  • Comment number 70.

    the little countries have their assurances. the real question is why they would insist they deserve a permanent seat. they are irrelevant in world terms.
    ---------------------------------
    jeez and you lot wonder why we want nothing to do with you.

  • Comment number 71.

    I am English and fully support the position of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish FAs. There is nothing even remotely "narrow-minded" about wishing to preserve the identity and integrity of your national football team, and I only with the English FA would do the same instead of acting as the BOA's henchman. England and Britain are not the same, nor are they interchangeable - I do not look back fondly on the days when England supporters waved union flags, and I cannot understand why anyone would want to revisit those days in any form. I would be happy for a team of English players to compete in the Olympics - but only if they are called "England."

    In footballing terms, Britain simply does not exist, it has never existed, and there is no reason to bring it into existence - other than as a calculated attempt to diminish the identities of all four "home" nations, that is. I will never support a British football team - I am English, and England is the only international football team I have any interest in. It is important that the Scottish, Welsh and Irish know that there are English people who think like this - we are not all happy to go along with the farce that is known as Team GB. Those who are do not understand international football.

  • Comment number 72.

    @ 51 wisepranker and 59 James Rigby

    Going back to my comment of 39, I still struggle to understand why untiy in this instance should be a threat to independence in the future.

    I'm pretty sure that Scotland's FA is give or take as old as the English FA, making it one of the oldest in the world and joking (or worse) aside, they have a proud footballing history not much less than that boasted by England - e.g. first home nation club side to win the European Cup. I for one am certainly pleased that these message boards did not exist in 1974 and 1978!!

    My point is that this stance that Scotland takes on this type of occasion gives an impression of an inferiority complex, whilst rather I believe they should be willing to illustrate more confidence in their own lineage and be prepared to stand next to the English FA because they are of similar stature. Fine, Scottish international football has been somewhat in the doldrums in recent years but I can remember many periods when the Scots were the best home nation - and its not as if England have been ripping up any trees!

  • Comment number 73.

    I say leave the FA, SFA, the NIFA and FAW out of the equation. The coach of the British team should send a latter to every eligible player awarding them a spot on the team. Let's put the responsibility on the players to accept/decline - they are adults after all.

    For example, if Gareth Bale was called up in such a manner, and the FAW in their likelihood would ask him not to accept - would they be so bold to put Gareth in international exile if he snubbed them and went on to play for GB? Of course not. Gary Speed would go beserk.

    My point is, the non-english FA's don't have a leg to stand on when it comes to their best players potentially representing GB. They cannot afford to suspend them due to their woeful qualifiying record. So the British Olympic Association or whoever should just bypass these associations and go straight to the horse's mouth.

  • Comment number 74.

    just listen to yourselves all these commentators posting very near "Racist" comments.
    do a wee bit of research and you will find that:
    A - there is no written undertaking that the celtic nations will lose their individuality if they participate as GB&NI at the olmpics
    B- the BOA instead of at least giving the impression that they sought to be inclusive by setting up a "GB&NI" football body for the olympics> simply handed it to the english FA!!! Hmmm how would english fans feel if it had been handed to any of the celtic nations FA's???
    C - IF!!! the celtic nations came into line (Which we dont do) honestly would it be a representative team???? no it wouldn't and the position of "we have to pick the best players" wont wash as it's meant to be the olympics which are about "The best available and elligible) just check out the ahem GB hockey team not very representative
    D- and finally why should the celtic nations jeopordise their independence just to make the english feel good about themselves??? again would it cut the other way???

    the BOA as with throwing all their funding away got this wrong! they didnt consult or involve all the stakeholders they assumed the usual "Bullying" tactics of the english FA would suffice and handed it to them.

    for all the people frustrated by the lack of change in the english FA and vested interests coming before football, well you already know it is amistake to give that archaic organisation any more power to abuse.

    if ever their were an opportunity missed to have done this the right way then the BOA scored the biggest own goal in Olympic history.

  • Comment number 75.

    After reading all the comments and being particulary irked by some from my southern neighbours, I would say - Bring it on. Then FIFA will make us compete as one team. Then the SNP will tell Scottish voters "If you want your team back, vote for Scottish independence". Next day - Scotland is free and then we can stop funding all you Southern moaners with North Sea Oil!

  • Comment number 76.

    A GB football team is too awful too contemplate frankly, if only we could be rid of the political union too !

  • Comment number 77.

    "In footballing terms, Britain simply does not exist, it has never existed, and there is no reason to bring it into existence - other than as a calculated attempt to diminish the identities of all four "home" nations, that is. I will never support a British football team - I am English, and England is the only international football team I have any interest in. It is important that the Scottish, Welsh and Irish know that there are English people who think like this - we are not all happy to go along with the farce that is known as Team GB. Those who are do not understand international football."

    By far the most sensible comment from an Englishman yet. Well said sir.

  • Comment number 78.

    If the welsh want their independence then they should insist that the welsh teams playing in the english football leagues, Cardiff, Swansea and Wrexham should join their league. We'll have Berwick Rangers. The Welsh don't have any squad members playing in their own league do they?

    Scotland should stop all the talk of Celtic and Rangers trying to escape their leagues to join the EPA.

    Does Northern Ireland actually have more than 1 division?

    The Champions League is only a huge competition because of the amount of money thrown at it.

    It should consist of Champions only. That would give smaller nations a better chance rather than having to qualify through rounds at the beginning.

    Barry Town have more right there than the 4th place English Team.

  • Comment number 79.

    @75 1974andallthat

    Let's not forget it was a Scottish king who created the union!!

    Actually, reading many of the posts I can see why a united football team is a bad idea: I love going to Scotland, get on great with my many Scottish colleagues and friends but love the sporting rivalry. Sadly others - including all the self interested FAs - want to bring politics into it.

  • Comment number 80.

    "My point is that this stance that Scotland takes on this type of occasion gives an impression of an inferiority complex"

    You're missing the point. The stance Scotland takes, and particularly I'm talking about the Scotland support here is more along the lines of #71. We simply aren't interested in a Team GB. We support Scotland - noone else. 'Britain' simply doesn't exist as a footballing entity. The only one's trying to force it into existence are the BOA and certain politicians (most of them English who I suspect would be glad to see an end to 4 'home' Nations and a permanently combined UK team in play).

  • Comment number 81.

    "The Olympics could be the highest stage on which some GB players get to perform at international level"

    First rule of journalism, Mr Fletcher, NEVER present you opinion as fact.

    Would the BBC like to inform license payers outside the England when it will cease trumpeting the unionist cause of English politicians and tabloids and stop trying to bully the Celtic NATIONS into giving up their players to an English Under 23 team.

  • Comment number 82.

    This has been talked to death, and there is no way that a proper GB team will happen. Its a shame that such petty politics has stopped this to happen.

    Given that Northern Ireland have not qualified for a tournament in 25 years, Scotland in 13 and Wales in 43 ( 25 if you count Euro 76) then it will stop some of the players getting some experience in a summer tournament play.

    Its total nonsense that FIFA would demand a GB team after 1 summer competiion of GB football. It is a one off event, and it would have been fun to see a proper GB team in action, even for just a couple of matches. As we are not going to host a another football event any time soon, it would have been a great occasion, but its not to be.

    As the Celtic nations are so opposed to the event, I would suggest moving the football matches from Hampden and the Millenium stadiums.

  • Comment number 83.

    #73 - so that's your answer is it - just ignore the 3 FA's and the overwhelmingly stated views of the supporters of ALL 4 National teams, and force a team into existence simply because the BOA want it!

    As stated earlier this king of pressure from those who are not involved with our National teams just pushes us all further away from the idea!

    And I am sure the SFA (and probably the FAW and IFA) would 'brief' any such player on exactly what is at stake here should your hypothetical become reality!

  • Comment number 84.

    9. At 09:00am on 24th Mar 2011, drolbor wrote:
    It should be Team GB&NI.
    ---------------------------

    How about Team UK?



    71. "In footballing terms, Britain simply does not exist, it has never existed, and there is no reason to bring it into existence - other than as a calculated attempt to diminish the identities of all four "home" nations, that is"

    RUBBISH. The separate identities between Eng, Wal, Sco and Ire are far stronger in rugby, largely because they play each other every year, and yet when the British and Irish Lions play together every year it's one of the highlights of the rugby cycle, with fans from all four countries throwing their weight behind it, without it at all diminishing the independence of the four teams. There is no reason this could not be replicated in football.

  • Comment number 85.

    #29 - The associations themselves do not receive much in the way of revenue from this event as they receive their standard fee for hire of the stadium from LOCOG/IOC (whoever is actually in charge of paying I don't know for sure). Otherwise it was put to Cardiff, Coventry, Newcastle and Glasgow as a means to "share the games with the country" (quote Seb Coe).

    The SFA wont shun anyone who plays in the games as it is likely to only be the brightest talents selected and we cannot afford to not play them. Remember that, in general, to qualify for the Olympics tournament you need to finish in the top 2 or 3 of the previous European Under 21 Championships.

    #40 - The Euro 2012 tournament could feature England AND Scotland (should we continue to build under Levein and make the lottery of the play-offs) AND Northern Ireland (who have a tougher task than Scotland but still do-able).

    #41 (Paul) - With the Euros and then the possibility of Champions League qualifiers for Arsenal/Spurs/Man City/Liverpool/Chelsea (whoever finishes 3rd and 4th next season), of course Wenger is upset at the Olympics taking place. It ruins any hopes of taking these players to money-making pre-season tournaments (which we all know is now the be all and end all of pre-season for these clubs) and will lead to even more player management being required to avoid injuries and burn-out.

  • Comment number 86.

    Isn't the major issue with this that other FA's are aware that England do not need to select any of their players and they want to save face?

    It is amazing to see the bitterness from some people regarding this. At #80 -

    The only one's trying to force it into existence are the BOA and certain politicians (most of them English who I suspect would be glad to see an end to 4 'home' Nations and a permanently combined UK team in play).

    Is this a conspiracy theory? I think I speak for most England fans when I say we don't want a combined team and certainly do not need any of your players.

  • Comment number 87.

    @82 quote:"As the Celtic nations are so opposed to the event, I would suggest moving the football matches from Hampden and the Millenium stadiums."

    there you go right there! if you needed an inkling of the nature of discussions that have taken place between the celtic FA's anf the english FA that sums it up perfectly.

    Why if it was to be a GB&NI team wasn't it set up between all the nations involved. WHY is it now an ENGLISH team and everyone else is wrong because the english FA say so???? the BOA got this so wrong and now they are engaged in trying to hide theor shortcomings, at the same time as taking LOCOG to court for more cash!

    doesnt that tell you all you need to know? it was supposed to be a GB team! not an english "do as we say" team. how would all the english posters here feel if it had been handed to the SFA??? and the english FA were rightly refusing to jeopordise themselves?

  • Comment number 88.

    There is no way that playing for GB is going to affect each countries status, FIFA would never do that and the countries are just looking for a way to get out.

    I think there idiots.

    For a team like Wales or NI this could be the pinnacle for them. Having a few players included will rally football there.

    In the squad there will no doubt be more English youngsters but of course all nations will be included... players should be picked on their qualities not where they are from.

    Wales and co should walk round with a legal document saying that wales and co are here to stay and get FIFA to sign it... simples!

  • Comment number 89.

    5. At 08:49am on 24th Mar 2011, Teflonso the King of Motorsport wrote:
    Northern Ireland was not in Great Britain last time I checked.

    -----------

    Good point! Is Northern Ireland excluded from this or has someone confused the United Kingdom and Great Britain?

    On a need to know basis, I think we need to know.

  • Comment number 90.

    This may be a one off but it should not occur at all as a country is supposed to be both a member of the IOC and a member of the relevant international sporting body to be Olympic eligible... and GB is not a member of FIFA
    Bit hard for the women though as the womens game is much more like a mainstream Olympic sport where the main game is about international tournaments

  • Comment number 91.

    Surely this should be up to the players to decide!? If i was told i couldnt play for Wales because i come from South Wales then i would be going to the courts (as some are)

    Nobody playing for England, NI, Scotland or Wales has any of those countries listed as thier nationality on thier passport, they are UK citizens. If they possess a UK passport and a UK team is created, what right does their regional team have to prevent them playing?

    I am a Welshman and proud but to me that is just the same as being a proud Yorkshireman, for example. Many would say that Wales has a greater "national identity" than other areas, but within wales there is a north/south divide then east/west who feel that they have an identity. My villige has a different identity to the one up the road but we still all support the same team at the next level up. I love watching local rivalries at all levels but have no problem in watchig those rivals team up to beat a bigger rival. I support Swansea - Ospreys - Wales - Lions and enjoy the rivalries and banter at every level/scale. Supporting The Lions in no way lessens my support for Wales in the 6N or world cup. Why should football be any different?

    It really irritates me when i hear people in Wales or Scotland hoping England loose word cup games when they haven't even qualified themselves, what more affinity do they have with Argentina for example (who were fighting us not so long ago and are itching for another) its rediculous!

    On the subject of national anthems, God save our queen is the UK anthem, not the English and as such England should find another (land of hope and glory perhaps?) However, it should be replaced as UK anthem too. What does it say about our country or patriotism that we don't want an old woman perish? not to mention the boring monotone noise that it is...hardly inspiring is it?

  • Comment number 92.

    19 bdyke04
    There has not been any GB team in past olympics, so why should there be 1 now, when at the next olympics the team will be scrapped?
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Because the organisers can see a huge pot of gold if a GB team does well. It's one of the few olympic sports that can potentially fill Wembley and command huge broadcast rights. Given the home nations' awful performances at recent tournaments I think a successful GB team could attract a huge audience desperate for some success. The whole thing has nothing to do with sport and everything to do with money.

    Personally I don't trust FIFA as far as I can throw them. The FIFA representatives are politicians and the minor nations have too much say over how the game is governed. I'm against setting the precedent of one GB team especially when there are an increasing number of countries competing for places at the world cup.

  • Comment number 93.

    #84 ????? How is it rubbish? Britain does not exist in football terms - fact. There is no British FA, there is no British League, there is no British National Team. None of these exist, or ever have existed (with the exception of historic bashes at the Olympics which were scrapped as no-one cared).

    Not sure what your point is caller???

  • Comment number 94.

    24. At 09:20am on 24th Mar 2011, mattfrombrum wrote:
    It is sad that as a group of nations we can't work together for a one off event. In Rugby there has been a long history of the British Lions playing together but this has never threatened the independence of the home nation rugby teams. If we could have worked together it would have shown the strengths of the current set-up and that strong independent national teams can work together for a special event. However what will threaten the independence of these football associations is showing the world that we don't have the best interests of the players or fans at heart but are more interested in power games and petty politicking. If this is the case then FIFA might well impose something new.




    Yes very true but the rugby folk can get along with each other in a far more civil manner,
    for example, at all the rugby matches i've been to, both premiership and internationals, the fans are not segregated and you never see trouble, the fans of both teams get along and have a bit of friendly banter, definitly none of the trouble and violence you see between opposing football fans on a regular basis.
    I went to the England and Italy 6 nations match at twickenham, where the English and Italian fans were getting along with each other like best of friends. Yet you mix english and italian football fans, and you end up with violence,
    I'd imagine if you put a gbni football team, the english fans would end up brawling with those of the other home nations, Sadly football attracks to much of the "yob culture" these days.
    Clearly football is doing something wrong, and needs to follow rugby's example where opposing fans all get along with each other.

  • Comment number 95.

    As a Welshman I consider the risk of participating as part of a UK team at the Olympic side-show is just too great. If the Welsh do get involved I will want 'Team GB' to fail. I'd far prefer they didn't and the English just got on with it.

  • Comment number 96.

    Show me a Scottish passport

  • Comment number 97.

    The point everyone seems to be missing (mainly because majority of posters are English) is that most other countries still view GB as one country and most seem to think it is England. There has been pressure from them for years to have one united GB team. WHEN FIFA, led by the African , Asiatic and American associations use the Team GB football team as an example in the future they may well get their way as combined they will outvote the European countries.
    It is not about what proportion of the home nations players would be in the Team GB (I think we all accept it would be mainly English & I would not have a problem with that). What IT is about is setting the precedent for one united team which would allow the pressure from the other associations to make it permanent.
    If that did happen, it is not just Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland teams that would disappear which seems to be the thoughts of many 'posters' , England as a team would also disappear. We are all seperate nations with our own identities and entitled to have our own teams, the narrow and very anglified view re team GB would destroy all four teams, surely no one wants that.
    That is why the Celtic nations are so against an Olympic Team GB, nothing to do with being anti English or national Ego's and the sooner the English take that on board then the sooner all four National teams will be safe.

  • Comment number 98.

    What would you rather see. England winning Euro 2012 (as they inevitably will, they have such a great record) or Team GB/NI gaining a plucky Bronze at the Olympics?
    Oh, and three of your brightest young talents being crocked at the latter. Olympic football is more a nonsense than just a nuisance.

  • Comment number 99.

    "It is amazing to see the bitterness from some people regarding this. At #80 -"

    Not bitter at all pal, just have no interest in a Team GB, and view it as way too much of a risk to our independent status. Nothing more nothing less.

    "Is this a conspiracy theory? I think I speak for most England fans when I say we don't want a combined team and certainly do not need any of your players. "

    Fine - why are we discussing this then - let's get on with our lives!!! My point is that I feel this is largely being peddled by those who are not football people. As for politicians it is well documented that a decent number of English MP's (most prominently the late Tony Banks and Jack Straw) favour a permanent UK team.

  • Comment number 100.

    The proud separate nations should never play as a single GB team, it is wrong. We should also enter separate national sides into the Oympics.

 

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